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

15 December 1998


GAZA, 14 December (UNRWA) -- The First Lady of the United States, Hillary Rodham Clinton, announced that the Government of the United States has pledged an increase of 4.5 per cent in its 1999 annual contribution to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). The 1999 contribution will thus be $73 million for UNRWA's General Fund.

The announcement came in an address by Mrs. Clinton at UNRWA's Women's Programme Centre in Beach Camp in Gaza, where she recommended that other donor countries increase their contribution to UNRWA. During her visit, Mrs. Clinton sat in on a legal literacy class for Palestine refugee women and spoke to a group of women who had received loans to start up or expand micro-enterprise projects which generate income. Mrs. Clinton remarked on the difficulties faced by women in Gaza over the years and congratulated the women present on the work they had done in building their businesses, while continuing to raise their families. She spoke about the benefits of the micro-enterprise programme, how it can empower women, help to improve the education of their children, and lead to a better economic future.

The United States has been the largest single donor to UNRWA's regular programmes since 1994. Mrs. Clinton praised UNRWA's work over the past decades in providing education, health and relief and social services to some 3.5 million registered Palestine refugees living in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

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