Damascus, 16 June 2007
The director of the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in Syria, Panos Moumtzis, has praised the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for its continuous support to the Palestinian people and for UNRWA's humanitarian and development programmes.
Moumtzis made the remark at a ceremony to lay the foundation stone of the Jowra Boys/Faradeh Girls Preparatory School at the Sbeineh refugee camp in Damascus. The school is to be built by UNRWA with funding of $780,000 from the UAE Red Crescent.
A delegation from the UAE Red Crescent - led by Abdullah Mohammed Al-Mahmoud, currently in Syria to familiarise himself with the situation of Palestinian refugees in Syria; UAE Ambassador to Syria, Yusuf Mohammed Al Midfae; and a number of senior Palestinian officials and members of the diplomatic corps - attended the ceremony.
Moumtzis said that the UAE’s efforts were a good example for humanitarian organisations worldwide, adding that UNRWA and all other UN bodies greatly appreciate their work. He cited the 24 open heart operations conducted in recent months by a UAE open heart medical team for poor Palestinian patients. He expressed profound gratitude to the UAE’s President, H.H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, as well as to the people of the UAE.
Al-Mahmoud said the laying of the school’s foundation stone was yet another aspect of the UAE Red Crescent’s on-going humanitarian programmes in support of the Palestinian people, adding that it’s construction would boost educational facilities within Sbeineh camp.
He put the total assistance given by the UAE Red Crescent to the Palestinian people in recent years at AED 700 million ($190 million.) This, he said, was in addition to over AED 2 billion ($500 million) that the UAE provided for other humanitarian projects in Palestine.
Moumtzis concluded by expressing profound gratitude to the Syrian government and to all those who contributed in various ways to the creation of the new school.