(MENAFN - Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) KUWAIT, Nov 7 (KUNA) -- The State of Kuwait is keen on supporting the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East's (UNRWA) operations, said Chairman of Kuwait's International Islamic Charitable Organization (IICO) and Amiri Diwan advisor Dr. Abdullah Al-Matouq Wednesday.
Dr. Al-Matouq's statement came on the sidelines of his meeting with Chief of the UNRWA Donor Relations Division, Marc Lassouaoui and the agency's External Relations and Projects Officer Munir Manneh.
The ICCO chairman said that Kuwait, under the directives of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, will always provide a helping hand to their brethren in Palestine.
He added that GCC and Arab countries should intensify their efforts to cover the deficit at UNRWA after the US decided to pull out its USD 350 million contribution.
UNRWA plays an integral role in attending to the educational, health, and social needs of all Palestinians especially in the Gaza Strip and the diaspora, said Dr. Al-Matouq who commended the brave stance of National Assembly Speaker Marzouq Al-Ghani in favor of the Palestinian cause during his global parliamentary participations.
Regarding the IICO's future endeavors, Dr. Al-Matouq revealed that the organization will kick start on November 26 the Eighth Annual Conference on Effective Partnership and Information Sharing for Better Humanitarian Action.
The event will witness the launching of an initiative to feed one people billion around the globe.
The initiative also includes programs to provide soft loans, launch small business projects, and other integral objectives to empower those who are in need, said the IICO chairman.
Meanwhile, UNRWA's Lassouaoui said that the agency was facing great challenges that might affect its operations as a result of the US contributions pullout.
This year, the EU, Sweden, Japan, Holland, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE pledged USD 390 million; however, UNRWA only received USD 51 million so far, said Lassouaoui who affirmed that despite the current status quo, the agency continues to provide assistance to Palestinians.
On his part, UNRWA's Manneh revealed that the agency faced a USD 446 million deficit, adding that the pledges this year helped to reduce that number to USD 64 million.
He said that Kuwait and other donor countries were up to the challenges that lie ahead, affirming that UNRWA will manage to attend to the needs of Palestinians especially those residing in the Gaza Strip.
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East's (UNRWA) was founded in 1948 to assist some five million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, Jordan, Lebanon, and the Middle East. (end) amn.gta