United Nations: India is among 20 nations that have pledged a total of about $100 million to the UN relief agency charged with the well-being of Palestinian refugees across the Middle East.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres voiced gratitude for the generous pledges of approximately $100 million made at the extraordinary ministerial conference in Rome on 15 March titled ‘Preserving Dignity and Sharing Responsibility — Mobilizing Collective Action for UNRWA’.

Almost 20 donors pledged additional contributions, including Qatar, Norway, Turkey, Canada, India and Switzerland. Giving details of the pledges made by the nations, Guterres’s spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters in New York on Friday that the Emir of the Qatar pledged $50 million in new contributions, while Norway pledged $13.6 million, Turkey $10 million and a doubling of their food aid, Canada $7.7 million, India $5 million and Switzerland $4.2 million.

He said the ministerial conference was an “exceptional demonstration" of high-level support for UNRWA’s mandate and a recognition for the continued necessity of its work in support of over five million Palestine refugees. Dujarric added that the pledges made in Rome represent an important first step, yet a lot of work remains to fully close the critical shortfall.

“The Secretary-General encourages all Member States and the private sector to provide support to UNRWA in order to close the still critical funding shortfall. He reiterates that the services provided by UNRWA to Palestine refugees are essential and contribute to bring stability to the region," the spokesman said. PTI