Jordan & Sweden discuss joint efforts to raise political/ financial support for UNRWA

Jordan’s Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi met with Swedish Ambassador Anna Hammargren of the Department for the Middle East and North Africa to discuss regional developments and efforts under way to overcome challenges and achieve peace and stability.

The meeting in Amman, tackled joint efforts between Jordan and Sweden in cooperation with the international community to raise political and financial support for the UNRWA, in accordance with a cooperation framework adopted by the two countries to assist the agency.

The two officials also looked into implementation mechanisms for the recommendations of the Stockholm meeting, held in April, according to a Jordanian Foreign Ministry statement.

The outcomes of the Stockholm meeting revolved around the need to address the gap in funding to UNRWA, in addition to the necessity of resolving the Palestinian refugee issue within a comprehensive political solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict based on international legislations.

Safadi and Hammargren stressed the need to continue providing sufficient support to the agency, to enable it to carry on its UN-mandated role towards Palestinian refugees.

The General Assembly is scheduled to vote this year on whether to extend UNRWA’s mandate.

Jordan and Sweden have been working within a strategic partnership to garner political and financial support to narrow the agency’s deficit for the current year of around $200m million.

During the meeting, Safadi expressed his appreciation for Sweden’s efforts in support of UNRWA.

Over the past four years, Sweden has donated $200m to the agency, in addition to rallying international political and monetary support to aid its cause.

The two officials highlighted the need to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict in accordance with the two-state solution.

They affirmed the continuation of efforts towards furthering bilateral relations between their two countries and enhancing cooperation and coordination with regards to regional causes.

Formerly UNRWA’s largest donor, the United States halted its funding to the agency in 2018, causing an unprecedented financial crisis for the agency, but alternative support from the international community contributed to significantly narrowing last year’s budget deficit. Safadi and his Swedish counterpart Margot Wallström hosted a ministerial strategic dialogue in Stockholm earlier this year aimed at agreeing an action plan to mobilise the international community’s efforts to bridge UNRWA’s 2019 funding gap, which stands at $200m, in addition to finding long-term financial plans for the agency and building on its initiative to enhance efficiency.

This edited article first appeared in The Jordan Times