17 May 2009
His Majesty King Abdullah on Saturday bestowed the Istiqlal Medal of the First Order on the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in recognition of the agency's 60 years of service to Palestinian refugees.
UNRWA Commissioner General Karen AbuZayd received the award on the agency's behalf, following a meeting with King Abdullah and Her Majesty Queen Rania.
During the meeting, King Abdullah stressed the need to provide all possible support to UNRWA in executing its humanitarian work for Palestinian refugees. He especially commended UNRWA's assistance to the Palestinians during the recent Israeli assault on the Gaza Strip.
King Abdullah said Jordan would continue its support for UNRWA, and noted that the Jordan Armed Forces field hospital in Gaza, which provides medical services to the Palestinian people, will continue to complement the work that UNRWA is doing in Gaza.
During the meeting, the King also emphasised the refugees' rights to return and compensation.
"I am deeply honoured to have been invited to meet Their Majesties, particularly as this was my first meeting with the King," AbuZayd said following the meeting.
"I remain extremely grateful for their continuing personal involvement with Palestine refugees and with our work at UNRWA," she added.
"In this, our 60th anniversary year, it is important to pay tribute to our friends in this region and those such as our partners in Jordan who have given to us and the refugees so generously over six decades. But it is also important to take stock and remind the world that 60 years of exile and statelessness is unacceptable, and that a political resolution for the refugees must be found."