On 25 May 2023, the Political Director of the Foreign Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Latvia, Andžejs Viļumsons, met with the Senior Manager for Outreach Europe at the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine (UNRWA), Marc Lassouaoui. Mr Lassouaoui was visiting Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania to provide information on UNRWA activities and main challenges to the agency’s work.
The representative of the UNRWA thanked Latvia for its continuing political and financial support for the agency’s activities, while calling for the evaluation of possibilities for additional assistance. At the same time, Marc Lassouaoui expressed concerns about the deteriorating situation of Palestinian refugees across the region, which is affected both by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the increasing security and economic challenges faced by the countries in the region, including the protracted civil war in Syria and the socio-economic crisis in Lebanon.
The Political Director welcomed the contribution by the UNRWA to improving the humanitarian situation of Palestinian refugees and its stabilizing role across the Middle East region. Andžejs Viļumsons pledged Latvia’s commitment to continued support for the UNRWA’s work, including considering possibilities for additional financial contributions in the future.
Marc Lassouaoui also met with the members of a group in support of the Palestinian National Council at the Saeima (the Latvian Parliament), as well as with the management and researchers of the Latvian Foreign Policy Institute.
UNRWA gives support to more than 5.6 million Palestinian refugees in the Middle East. The agency provides education in schools for more than half a million Palestinian children, covers the payment of monthly benefits to 1.7 million refugees of retirement age and people with disabilities, and ensures basic health services to 3.5 million people not only in Palestine (Gaza and the West Bank) but also in Jordan, Lebanon and Syria.