The European Union and the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees, or UNRWA, signed Sept. 1 a joint declaration outlining EU support for the agency for the period 2011-2013, along with two contribution agreements worth €45 million ($64.22 million).
The first contribution agreement, worth €40 million, is for UNRWA’s general fund and brings total EU contributions to the fund to €80 million this year. The second agreement, meanwhile, is worth €5 million and is designed to support the agency’s food aid programs for Palestinian refugees living in Syria and other nearby Middle Eastern countries.
The joint declaration and contribution agreements were signed by EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton, EU commissioner for enlargement Stefan Fule and UNRWA Commissioner General Filippo Grandi.
In a press conference held after the signing ceremony, Grandi raised concern over renewed unrest in the Middle East that is said to be linked to Palestinian leaders’ quest for U.N. recognition of an independent Palestinian state.
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