The Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) and the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) have called on the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) to seek new funding sources. The call has been made following UNRWA's announcement of cuts to its services due to a severe shortage of funds.
The head of the Department of Refugee Affairs in the PLO, Dr. Zakaria Al-Agha, met with Dr. Issam Adwan, his counterpart in the Hamas-run Gaza government, to discuss the recent statements by UNRWA'S Director of Operations in Gaza regarding cuts in the Agency's services and its budget deficit.
Robert Turner had announced a 70 per cent cut in UNRWA's unemployment programme in the Gaza Strip and warned that the emergency programme dedicated to the distribution of food among refugees has been stopped due to the $70m shortfall in UNRWA's budget.
The PLO and Hamas agreed to reject these cuts and called on UNRWA to search for other sources of income to fund its services. The two groups called on donor countries, including those in the Arab world, "to fulfil their financial pledges to UNRWA so that it will be able to carry out its mission to help Palestinian refugees".
Messrs Al-Agha and Adwan stressed that the UN should cover the budget deficit so that its own Agency can fulfil the responsibilities placed on it by the international organisation.