Statement of Germany, Informal Plenary of the UN General Assembly, Briefing on the Situation of UNWRA, 5 March 2024

Informal UNGA Plenary on UNWRA

Informal UNGA Plenary on UNWRA, © German Mission to the UN

05.03.2024 - Speech

The statement was delivered by Ambassador Thomas Zahneisen, Deputy Permanent Representative.

Mr President

I want to thank the President of the General Assembly for convening this important meeting on the work and future of UNRWA and also Commissioner General Lazzarini for his briefing.

At the outset, let me assure you of Germany’s unwavering commitment to a Two-State solution allowing Israelis and Palestinians to live side by side in peace and security.

We are deeply concerned by the catastrophic humanitarian situation in Gaza. We deplore the horrible incident in northern Gaza on 29 February in which more than a hundred people were reportedly killed or injured while seeking humanitarian assistance. We mourn the loss of lives including many humanitarian workers and UN staff.

Germany has been consistently one of the largest humanitarian donors in support of Gaza and we will continue to be so. We have just increased our humanitarian assistance by a further 20 million EUR, supporting WFP, UNICEF and NGOs on the ground.

Since October 2023, the German Government has tripled her humanitarian assistance for the civilian population in Gaza by more than 170 million EUR to a total of 250 million EUR to date.

Mr. President,

UNRWA has played a key role for Palestine refugees for decades – and has an important mandate to fulfil until a lasting political solution has been found.

Germany has also consistently been a staunch supporter of UNRWA, keeping the agency afloat over the tumultuous past years. Since 2018, we provided a total of 1 billion USD for UNRWA operations, humanitarian, development, and reconstruction funding combined.

Our aim is to assure that UNRWA continues to fulfil its General Assembly mandate. We take note that not all member states are living up to their verbal support for UNRWA when it comes to their respective voluntary contributions to the Agency.

To fulfil its GA mandate, however, there can be no tolerance for terrorist ideology and activities within UNRWA staff. Hamas’ heinous terror attacks of October 7th have made this brutally clear.

Germany is therefore currently not deciding on funding for UNRWA in Gaza. But we trust that the ongoing investigations by OIOS and by the team under the leadership of Catherine Colonna will lead to swift results and produce specific and targeted recommendations, which we expect to be implemented by UNRWA with determination.

We further believe that Sigrid Kaag as humanitarian coordinator under UNSC-Res. 2720 should play a central role in the UN response in Gaza.

Mr President,

In conclusion, Germany will continue to work relentlessly to find a solution for Gaza.

We remain convinced, that the suffering of Israelis can only end once the suffering of Palestinians ends. The suffering of Palestinians can only end once the suffering of Israelis ends. //

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