UNRWA Commissioner-General visits Russia

26 June 2015

UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krähenbühl made his first official visit to Russia this week in order to foster stronger strategic ties on behalf of the Agency.

During the visit, which lasted from 23 to 26 June, Mr. Krähenbühl met with Mr. Gennady Gatilov, the Deputy Foreign Minister, Mr. Konstantin Kosachev, Chairman of the International Affairs Committee of the Federation Council, Mr. Serguey Vershinin, Director and Special Envoy for the Middle-East and North Africa at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and several diplomatic representatives. In the meetings, Mr. Krähenbühl highlighted the extreme hardship facing Palestine refugees, particularly in Syria and Gaza.

“Palestine refugees have been among the hardest hit by the continued turmoil in the Middle East,” Mr. Krähenbühl said. “I am deeply grateful for Russia’s support to UNRWA’s determined response to the needs and advocacy for the rights of five million Palestine refugees in the region.”

The Commissioner-General also met with representatives from several Russian research institutions and media outlets, including the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies, Russia in Global Affairs and the Carnegie Foundation.

Mr Krähenbühl underlined the importance of further strengthening the relations with the Russian Federation and to seize opportunities for regular exchanges of views on trends and  humanitarian priorities in the Middle-East. He also thanked the Russian government for its generous contribution to UNRWA at this critical time.

In 2015, Russia made a contribution of US$ 2 million to the UNRWA General Fund, matching their prior contribution from 2013. The funds will go towards supporting the Agency’s health, education and social services programmes in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank and Gaza.