Gaza, Jan 15 (IANS): The UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) has contacted US President-elect Joe Biden’s office on resuming American financial support to the Palestinian refugees, a top official said here.
Addressing a news conference on Thursday, Commissioner-General of the UNRWA Philippe Lazzarini said “we are optimistic about the resumption of relations with the new US administration”, reports Xinhua news agency.
He added that the agency looks forward to the US financial allocations to restore its previous status during the next stage, as soon as the new administration assumes its duties on January 20.
Lazzarini further said at the conference that the UNRWA will continue all services and employment programs for Palestinian refugees.
The agency’s officials have repeatedly announced that it is passing through a severe financial crisis, which began when outgoing US President Donald Trump decided to cut $360 million in early 2018, which represented 30 per cent of UNRWA’s budget.
The UNRWA provides humanitarian services to over 5.6 million Palestinian refugees.
Following the 1948 Arab-Israeli conflict, the UNRWA was established on December 8, 1949 to carry out direct relief and works programmes for Palestine refugees.
The Agency began operations on May 1, 1950.
In the absence of a solution to the Palestine refugee problem, the UN General Assembly has repeatedly renewed UNRWA’s mandate, most recently extending it until June 30, 2023.