Saudi Arabia has contributed $25 million to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) through its embassy in Jordan.
The contribution is part of a larger pledge by the Kingdom; to help the Agency maintain critical services to 5.6 million Palestine refugees in the region, UNRWA announced.
“Saudi Arabia has been a steadfast supporter of the Palestine refugees for year and has been amongst the Agency’s top donors for years,” it said in a statement.
The United States was UNRWA’s top donor; and funded about 30 percent of its operations in the region; but it announced the suspension of its funding in 2018.
“On my first visit to the Gulf and first official visit outside UNRWA areas of operations as Commissioner-General of UNRWA; I am in Riyadh to express my gratitude to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman; Deputy Premier and Minister of Defense, for their timeliness and generosity of their support to Palestinian refugees;” said Philippe Lazzarini.
At a time of regional political turmoil, pandemic and economic and financial crises, Palestine refugees will know that their rights and wellbeing are not being questioned and that Saudi Arabia supports them, he stressed.
On the sidelines of his visit to Riyadh, Lazzarini met with senior Saudi officials, including Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubair; Supervisor General of the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center Dr. Abdullah al-Rabiah and Vice Chairman and Managing Director of the Saudi Fund for Development Dr. Khalid al-Khudairy.
He discussed that providing access to basic services such as health and education would provide a sense of normality to Palestine refugees despite the turmoil around them.
In 2018, the Kingdom contributed $50 million to UNRWA to help fill the shortage created by the US decision.
Over the years, its strong support has also transpired through increased funding to food aid; infrastructure; and health-related projects by KSRelief and the Saudi Fund for Development totaling more than $800 million.
Saudi Arabia reconstructed and repaired about 250 affected houses for Palestinian refugees in Gaza Strip; the statement noted.