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Source: United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA)
26 February 2008

Press Release
February 26, 2008

Acting Assistant Secretary Witten Visits Ramallah Refugee Camp and Assures
UNRWA of the continued support of the U.S. government for its work for
Palestinian refugees

During a visit to the Jalazone refugee camp, Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees, and Migration Samuel Witten praised the work of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) and said the U.S. government remains committed to supporting UNRWA and serving the Palestinian refugee populations.

Acting Assistant Secretary Witten commented that “The United States partnership with UNRWA is longstanding and strong and demonstrates America’s commitment to the welfare of the Palestinian people.” He said the United States government’s ongoing efforts to support the creation of a Palestinian state parallels and compliments the American commitment to support the Palestinian people in their daily lives.

Witten thanked Commissioner General Karen Abu Zayd and her staff “for their exemplary work--often at great personal risk--on behalf of Palestinian refugees.”

Abu Zayd thanked the U.S. government for its contributions to UNRWA, saying: “We are immensely grateful to the United States government for its generous and prompt contributions, exemplary of its continuous commitment to UNRWA. This support is essential for improving the daily lives of Palestine refugees who face hardship in the region.”

In January 2008, the U.S. government announced it was immediately contributing $40 million to UNRWA’s General Fund. This supports UNRWA’s programs educating nearly 500,000 children in more than 650 schools. It supports one hospital and more than 1 25 clinics, and contributes to emergency food supplies and shelter. Witten noted that, as in previous years, the U.S. government expects to additional large contributions to the UNRWA General Fund and UNRWA’s Emergency Appeal for the West Bank and Gaza.

The United States is UNRWA’s largest bilateral donor. In FY07, the United States provided $154.15 million to UNRWA, including $90.65 million to its General Fund, $50 million to its West Bank/Gaza Emergency Appeal, and $13.5 million to its Lebanon Emergency Appeals.

For more information please contact the Consulate Press Office at 02-672-4802 or 02- 672-5283, Public Affairs Officer Micaela Schweitzer-Bluhm at 050-551-1632 or UNRWA Spokesperson Chris Gunness at 054-240-2659.

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