United Nations, Mar 24 (PTI) India is among 20 nations that have pledged a total of about USD 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 USD 100 million made at the Extraordinary Ministerial Conference in Rome on March 15 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 here yesterday that the Emir of the Qatar pledged USD 50 million in new contributions, while Norway pledged USD 13.6 million, Turkey USD 10 million and a doubling of their food aid, Canada USD 7.7 million, India USD 5 million and Switzerland USD 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.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.