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Source: European Commission
12 April 2005

Jerusalem 12th April 2005

European Commission to offer 63,670,000 euros to UNRWA in annual contribution in the framework of Convention between the European Community and UNRWA concerning aid to refugees in the countries of the Near East (2002-2005)

Representative of the European Commission to the Palestinian Territories Mr John KJAER will sign today with Ms. Karen Koning Abu Zayed, Deputy Commissioner General, UNRWA, a new funding agreement through which the European Commission shall support the UNRWA with a total amount of 63,670.000 euros.

This financial support is part of the 4 years international Convention 2002 -- 2005 between the European Community and UNRWA regarding assistance to refuges in the Middle East Countries. EC's contribution for 4 years under this Convention amounts to 237 million euros. In 2005, this contribution to the general Fund will represent 21% of the total budget of the UNRWA amounting to 303.5 million Euros

The overall objective of this funding agreement is to provide support to the education, health, relief and social services programmes of the UNRWA. Around 4.2 million Palestinian refugees in Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, West Bank and Gaza Strip will directly benefit from it.

The continuing support of the EC for UNRWA is an essential element of the EU's strategy in the Middle East. It confirms to the Palestinians that the International Community guarantees the refugee issue is not left out of the final status negotiations.

Since 1972, the European Commission and UNRWA have signed ten conventions governing the EC contribution to the regular and food aid budgets of the Agency.

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