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Press Release
UNITED NATIONS
Department of Public Information · News Coverage Service · New York


GA/9664
19 November 1999

AS ASSEMBLY DEBATE ON CRISIS RELIEF POINTS TO UNEVEN
DONOR RESPONSES, UNITED STATES EARMARKS HALF
OF UNHCR CONTRIBUTION FOR AFRICA

Need To Protect Refugees and Humanitarian Workers Highlighted;
Ukraine Appeals for Aid To Deal with Problems of Chernobyl Aftermath

Assembly Work Programme

The General Assembly met this afternoon to continue its consideration of the agenda item on strengthening coordination of humanitarian and disaster relief assistance of the United Nations. (For background information, see Press Release GA/9663 of 19 November.)

Statements

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OLE PETER KOLBY (Norway) ...

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Improved socio-economic development for the Palestinian people living in the occupied Palestinian territories was crucial to the peace process in the Middle East, he said. Norway had renewed its commitment to the process by pledging over $170 million for the next five years to support Palestinian institutions focusing on the planning, education, water and energy sectors, among others. It had also been involved in coordination mechanisms for responses to both short- and long-term humanitarian needs. Pending implementation of a final settlement of the refugee issue, the continued assistance of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) remained indispensable to the Palestinian people.

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MOHAMMAD J.SAMHAN (United Arab Emirates) ...

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He said that regional and national agencies providing help for refugees and displaced persons should be strengthened so that they could help those unfortunate people to return home safely. The Palestinian people were still suffering from Israeli occupation. The Israelis had expropriated their property while restricting their movement. They had also hindered the activities of humanitarian agencies in the occupied territories. He called on Israel to put an end to its violations of international law and for financial agencies to comply with their commitment to the Palestinian people, so that they could set an independent State with Jerusalem as the capital.

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MARWAN A. JILANI, observer for Palestine, said there had been pledges made by donor countries last year in Washington for assistance to the Palestinian people, which had been reiterated at a recent meeting in Tokyo, but had not been honoured. A drastic decline in contributions to the Palestinian people was a matter of great concern. Honouring pledges and making contributions were essential to socio-economic development, reconstruction and prosperity in the region. He expressed his appreciation to those who had provided support.

The report of the Secretary-General had highlighted a slight improvement in the living conditions of Palestinians. However, Israel should desist from its policy of closure, which was an instrument of collective punishment. The recognition of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian People and their right to self-determination and to build their country were essential to peace.

AHMED H. DARWISH (Egypt) ...

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... The United Nations agencies in the occupied Palestinian territory were contributing to improving the conditions of the people there, and deserved support. ...

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