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Wed, 12 Sep 2018 13:25 - Updated Wed, 12 Sep 2018 13:25

Palestinian FM unravels new moves to help UN refugee body

RAMALLAH -- Palestinian Foreign Minister said Wednesday that the Palestinians are currently consulting on holding a new UN vote to help the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) continue its operation.

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Riad Malki told the official Palestinian radio station Voice of Palestine (VOP) that the Palestinian side "is preparing to hold a vote at the UN General Assembly (UNGA) during its upcoming meetings to renew the UNRWA's mandate."

The Palestinian side wants to persuade as many member states as possible to vote for the UNRWA to continue its mandate, he said.

Tha action is also to deliver a strong message to Washington and Israel that are seeking to undermine the capabilities and potential of the UNRWA to continue to provide its services to the Palestinian refugees, he said.

The top Palestinian diplomat explained that "donor states will hold meetings at the sidelines of the UNGA session to support the agency financially and politically."

The U.S. State Department spokesperson Heather Nauret announced in August to stop funding to the UN Palestinian refugee agency, a move following the U.S. reduction in aid to the agency from 360 million U.S. dollars to 60 million dollars.

For nearly five years, the UNRWA has been dealing with huge financial problems due to increased demand for its services resulting from the growing number of registered Palestinian refugees and the deepening poverty and vulnerability.

The UNRWA declared that it is currently operating at a deficit of over 180 million dollars.

As the oldest and largest relief organization, the UNRWA was established in 1949 and aimed at providing assistance and protection to some 5.3 million Palestinian refugees registered with it,XINHUA.

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