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Belgium donates €11 million to support Palestinian refugees

Jan. 22, 2013 7:10 P.M. (Updated: Jan. 23, 2013 4:30 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Belgium has donated €11 million to the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA said Tuesday.

The aid supports the agency's General Fund, including its social safety net program, as well as its emergency appeal in the West Bank and Gaza.

The UN agency relies almost entirely on voluntary contributions and has operated at a deficit for several years.

"Without the kind of continued support that Belgium and other European countries provide, it is difficult to say where we would be today," said UNRWA offical Salvatore Lombardo.

"They have provided a tremendous amount of support for our Agency asking in return only that we ensure the best possible quality of service to Palestine refugees in all our fields of operation. For that, we are most grateful," said Lombardo.

Belgian consul-general Geert Cockx said Belgium supported UNRWA "because it is a reliable agency that works on the ground, providing daily support to more than five million Palestine refugees."

Cockx added: "Belgians recognize the growing needs of these people -- especially in Syria and the occupied Palestinian territory -- and the importance of supporting them as much as possible."
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