UNITED NATIONS, Oct 31 – Kuwait late Thursday reaffirmed its continued financial support to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), whether through its annual contribution of USD 1.5 million to its budget or through financing projects undertaken by other UN agencies, out of belief in the fairness of the Palestinian question which has remained unresolved for so long.
Addressing the General Assembly’s Decolonization Committee, Kuwaiti diplomat Hamad Nahar Al-Mekrad emphasized the importance of UNRWA’s responsibility to provide all required services to the Palestinian refugees until their problem is settled on the basis of General Assembly resolution 194.
He said although financial difficulties hindered its work, Kuwait hopes that the Agency would nevertheless continue to expand its services in its five areas of operation — the West Bank, Gaza, Lebanon, Syria and Jordan – in an equal manner, and commends the reform measures and programmes being executed by the Agency to develop the educational, health and social services it provides to the refugees.
He noted that since September of 2000, Israel’s oppressive practices had not eased and the Israeli Government pursued coercive policies against the citizens, carried out campaigns of arrests and assassinations, which contradicted even the simplest norms and principles of international legitimacy. Israel justified those unjustifiable policies as necessary to protect its national security and stop the violence.
But, those policies, he argued, had led to an increased violence and deterioration in the security situation. He also accused the Israeli authorities of hindering the work of UNRWA, in violation of the 1946 Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the United Nations.
He expressed “total solidarity” with the Palestinians and demanded that the Israeli Government comply with the bases and references upon which the peace process was built, namely Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973) and the principle of land for peace.
He commended UNRWA staff for their dedication to their work in such difficult conditions and expressed hope that they would be granted the same benefits enjoyed by their UN colleagues stationed in the region.