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EU donates €11.5 million to UNRWA

Nov. 28, 2012 7:24 P.M. (Updated: Nov. 29, 2012 7:58 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- The European Union on Wednesday donated 11.5 million euros to support the UN agency for Palestinian refugees.

At a signing ceremony in Gaza City, EU representative John Gatt-Rutter told reporters the grant would assist UNRWA's budget and pledged Europe's continued support for the UN agency.

Gatt-Rutter offered condolences to those who lost friends and relatives in Israel's eight-day war in Gaza and paid tribute to UNRWA staff who worked in dangerous circumstances to continue providing healthcare, food aid and educational services throughout the offensive.

"We are here today at one of UNRWA's health centers which remained open during the conflict. I pay tribute to the courage and commitment of all UNRWA staff during this difficult time."

He added: "I am today in Gaza to see first-hand the implications of yet another devastating escalation of violence. The civilian population, yet again, took a heavy toll and endured both physical and psychological trauma."

"The current situation underlines once more the urgent need to move towards a comprehensive peace based on a two-state solution and on Palestinian reconciliation," he added.

Regarding Palestine's bid to upgrade its UN status, Gatt-Rutter said the EU would continue to support the Palestinian Authority "both financially and politically whether they submit the bid or not."

He added that the EU was prepared to redeploy its European Border Assistance Mission at Rafah crossing, "but that necessitates the approval of all sides."

An UNRWA spokesman in Gaza told Ma’an that the funding agreement signed Wednesday was very important for the sustainability of the organization in light of its budget deficit.

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