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


PAL/1847
14 October 1997


UNRWA, PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY, EUROPEAN COMMISSION SIGN MEMORANDUM

OF UNDERSTANDING ON EUROPEAN GAZA HOSPITAL



GAZA, 13 October (UNRWA) -- The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), the Palestinian Authority and the European Commission yesterday signed a memorandum of understanding regarding the European Gaza Hospital near Khan Younis in the Gaza Strip. The memorandum establishes a "Project Board" with the specified objective of completing the commissioning of the hospital in order to begin services as soon as possible.

Speaking after the ceremony, UNRWA Commissioner-General Peter Hansen said, "This is a special day, both for the people of Gaza and for UNRWA. The European Gaza Hospital represents a major investment by the European Union and its member States in improving the health care system for the people of Gaza. I am pleased that this agreement establishes a framework for this hospital to become operational as soon as practicable." The hospital will become an integral part of the Palestinian Authority's health care system in Gaza.

The ceremony was held at the European Commission office in Gaza. Mr. Hansen signed on behalf of the Agency; Nabil Sha'ath, Palestinian Minister of Planning and International Cooperation, and Dr. Riad Zano'un, Palestinian Minister of Health, signed on behalf of the Palestinian Authority; Thierry Bechet, European Commission Representative (West Bank and Gaza Strip), signed on behalf of the Commission.

The 232-bed hospital has been constructed by UNRWA with financing from the European Union and its member States. It is the first new hospital to be built in the Gaza Strip since 1967 and will increase by 24 per cent the number of hospital beds there.


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