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UNRWA coming up on difficult times as renewal of mandate approaches: official

Ramallah The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) is coming up on difficult times as its mandate comes up for renewal in September, a UNRWA official said Thursday.

UNRWA spokesman Sami Mshasha told Voice of Palestine radio that the coming weeks and months are going to be difficult in light of attempts by some countries, mainly the United States and Israel, to delegitimize its work and therefore end its mandate.

He said UNRWA’s mandate and renewal of its operations for three more years will be discussed at the UN in September. At the same time, an international conference for donor countries will be held in September to discuss the financial crisis facing the humanitarian agency following last year’s decision by the US, the largest donor to UNRWA with over $360 million annually, to stop all funding to the UN agency.

Mshasha said UNRWA needs $1.2 billion in funds to be able to continue to provide all services, such as health, education and social services, to around 5 million Palestinian refugees in the occupied Palestinian territory and neighboring Arab host countries.

Source: International Islamic News Agency