Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees, and Migration Eric P. Schwartz welcomed Filippo Grandi, recently appointed Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), to Washington DC on March 11, 2010, and announced that the U.S. will make an additional planned contribution of $55 million to UNRWA.
The United States is UNRWA’s largest donor. The announced contribution of $55 million includes $30 million to UNRWA’s General Fund, which provides core services to Palestinian refugees across the region, and $25 million to UNRWA’s Emergency Appeal for the West Bank and Gaza. This additional funding will bring total U.S contributions to UNRWA thus far in Fiscal Year 2010 to $95 million. In 2009, the United States provided more than $267 million to UNRWA.
UNRWA provides emergency food assistance, critical health, education, job creation programs and humanitarian services to 4.7 million Palestinian refugees in Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, the West Bank, and Gaza. Assistant Secretary Schwartz and Commissioner-General Grandi discussed UNRWA program requirements and the quantity and scope of essential materials entering Gaza.
Commissioner-General Grandi will also meet in Washington with Deputy Secretary of State Jacob J. Lew, Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs Jeffrey D. Feltman, Assistant Secretary for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor Michael H. Posner, and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Organizations Gerald C. Anderson.