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Source: United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA)
23 March 2007
Press Release No. HQ/04/2007

23 March 2007


Belgian Foreign Minister visits Amari refugee camp

On 23 March, Mr Karel de Gucht, Foreign Minister of Belgium, visited Amari refugee camp in Ramallah, where he was briefed on the dire humanitarian situation facing Palestine refugees.

Accompanied by UNRWA Commissioner-General Karen Koning AbuZayd, he visited a health centre and heard first-hand from refugees about the difficult situation they live in, the harsh effects of the humanitarian crisis in the occupied Palestinian territory, and the severe constraints on their freedom of movement.

De Gucht praised the work of UNRWA in the region and confirmed his Government’s increasing support to the Agency: “The living conditions I have seen here and in refugee camps in Lebanon are very difficult. Belgium is contributing to job creation programmes and shelter rehabilitation efforts.”

Referring to the issue of access, he added: “Palestinians must be able to reach hospitals”.

Belgium, a member of UNRWA’s Advisory Commission, has recently increased its annual contribution to UNRWA to 4 million Euros (approx. US$ 5.2 million). It is funding specific projects in refugee camps in Lebanon and providing badly needed food aid. Karen Koning AbuZayd said: “With the visit of Minister de Gucht, UNRWA’s relationship with Belgium has been given a significant boost. It is heartening to see that our efforts to improve the quality of our services are recognized and that the plight of the Palestine refugees is not being forgotten”.

For more information please contact:
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