His Excellency Ayman Safadi, The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan; His Excellency Peter Eriksson, The Minister for International Development Cooperation of the Kingdom of Sweden; His Excellency Antonio Guterres, The United Nations Secretary General; His Excellency Philippe Lazzarini, the Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA); Dear Colleagues;  Excellencies; Ladies and Gentlemen;

Assalam Alaikum Warahmathullahi Wabarakaathuh,

I would like to express my sincere appreciation to the Governments of Jordan and Sweden for convening this important and timely conference in support of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). Let me also applaud the leadership and staff of UNRWA for their solemn work.

Allow me to recall the establishment of UNRWA seventy years ago, as a relief agency for Palestinians violently displaced amidst terror and turmoil. Today, the Agency’s expanding humanitarian responsibilities continue to cater to a spectrum of diverse needs, with an increasing number of dependents emerging each year. Over 5.5 million Palestinian refugees depend on UNRWA. Without it millions of Palestinian children will be without an education and many more will be without basic health care. The progress achieved by UNRWA so far has been nothing but extraordinary, as is its unwavering effort to reconcile the divide between peace and development.

Over the years, we have witnessed the multiple challenges endured by UNRWA, which serve today as a testament to the resilience of the agency. Yet, the current funding crisis is unprecedent, specially at a time, not only recurring surges of violence  but also the horrifying outbreak of COVID-19 that has plunged millions of Palestinian refugees into a state of total despair. The Maldives is deeply concerned over the resources of UNRWA which are at the brink of exhaustion. These resources are the only  guarantee for the welfare of  our suffering brothers and sisters in Palestine.
The Maldives reiterates its call for a two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, in accordance with the International Law and respective UN resolutions. While the Palestinian people await a peaceful and just solution in their quest to return to their homes, UNRWA’s mandate is more important than ever.

The international community in its right conscious cannot ignore the perpetual suffering of the Palestinian people, and I would strongly plead that the basic welfare of the Palestinian Refugees should not be subject to indifferences towards the Agency. We must cohesively work together, bound by our moral obligations, to provide financial support to UNRWA and ensure the continuity of its operations. I urge the international community, to contribute towards promoting and protecting the human rights and dignity for which the Palestinian people are entitled to as any one of us. Today, we pledge to do the same.

I thank you.