Arab League praises UN's 3-year extension of UNRWA mandate

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CAIRO, Nov. 17 (Xinhua) -- The Cairo-based Arab League (AL) praised on Sunday the recent UN decision to extend the mandate of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) for another three years.

Saeed Abu Ali, AL's assistant secretary-general for Palestine and occupied Arab territories, said the UN decision reflects the conviction and support of the international community for "the vital role" played by UNRWA, according to Egypt's official MENA news agency.

On Friday, the Fourth Committee of the United Nations General Assembly overwhelmingly voted for renewing UNRWA's mandate until 2023.

"This vote asserts the international community's confidence in UNRWA and support for the rights of the Palestinian people," Abu Ali said, describing the UN decision as "a positive indication."

The United States and Israel voted against the decision while 170 states voted for it and seven abstained.

Established in 1949, the UN agency serves over 5 million registered Palestinian refugees and their descendants in Jordan, Syria, Lebanon as well as the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

UNRWA suffered its severest funding crisis in 2018 after the United States, previously the largest donor, cut its funding and then completely stopped its support. Enditem

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