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**NEWS**

THE OIC ORGANIZED, IN COOPERATION WITH JORDAN AND SWEDEN, A HIGH-LEVEL MEETING ON SUPPORTING PALESTINIAN REFUGEES - 2017-09-22

 The Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation Dr. Yousef Al-Othaimeen co-chaired with Jordan and Sweden a high-level meeting to support Palestinian refugees “New Horizons for Sustainable Funding for UNRWA” today, Friday, 22 September 2017, at the UN headquarters in New York.

In his statement at the meeting, the Secretary General insisted on the importance of enabling the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) to continue its vital and crucial role pursuant to the mandate given by the United Nations General Assembly to serve this large segment of the Palestinian people. He also reaffirmed OIC’s unwavering support for the Palestinian people in exercising their inalienable right to return to their country and recover their properties, as an inalienable, absolute and inherent right, consistent with relevant international legitimacy resolutions.

The Secretary General expressed the OIC’s deep concern over the recurrent annual financial deficit in the budget of the UNRWA, which runs the risk of reducing basic services, and reaffirmed the need to commit to the legal and political terms of reference of the UNRWA and the international responsibility in enabling it to discharge its role which is that of serving Palestinian refugees.

On the other hand, Al-Othaimeen expressed the OIC’s gratitude to the states which still bear the burden of hosting millions of Palestinian refugees since decades and demonstrated commitment to cooperating with the UNRWA by sharing the burden and responsibility in providing millions of refugees with mostly-needed humanitarian aids and services.

He also commended the regular invaluable contributions of donor states to the UNRWA budget. In line with the resolutions of Islamic summits and those of the different sessions of the Council of Foreign Ministers of OIC member states, he called upon all OIC member states to step up their generous contributions to support the activities and programmes of the UNRWA and to enable it to continue to provide for the increasing needs of Palestinian refugees.

Al-Othaimeen pointed out that OIC is following up with the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) the implementation of the resolution adopted by the 44th Session of the Council of Foreign Ministers held in Abidjan, Republic of Core d’Ivoire, on 10-11 July 2017, on the preparation of a study on the proposal for establishing a fund to support Palestinians, as a means to promote Islamic countries’ joint support for Palestinian refugees at this critical time.

At the end of the meeting, the Secretary General expressed his appreciation of the countries that announced at the meeting their financial commitment to support the budget and programs of UNRWA.

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