Ankara has reiterated that it will continue to be in solidarity with Palestine against unjust steps with the aim of finding solutions to the ongoing problems.
"Turkey will always stand with its Palestinian brothers. Palestine and Jerusalem are our red line," Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu stated, speaking in a joint press conference with his Palestinian counterpart Riyad al-Maliki, and added that Ankara will maintain its efforts for international recognition of the Palestinian state with the borders of 1967.
Prior to the press conference, ministers and high-level officials of the two countries signed seven agreement in various fields following the Turkey-Palestine first joint committee meeting. Çavuşoğlu said that the second committee meeting will be held in Ramallah.
"Today's meeting was significant in carrying our relations to a higher level. We came along with a delegation representing the seven ministries of our countries. The timing of the meeting is important as Palestinian people have been undergoing in a difficult period," Maliki said, adding that Palestine is capable of facing these threats "with the support of Turkey."
Çavuşoğlu also stressed that two emergency summits were held by the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) within approximately 10 months as a result of steps of the U.S. and Israel that violated the rights of Palestinian.
"No country that is unfair and supporting one side can play a mediating role," he underscored.
In an emergency summit last year in December the OIC said in the declaration that the leaders "reject and condemn in the strongest terms the unilateral decision by the president of the United States recognizing al-Quds [Jerusalem] as the so-called capital of Israel, the occupying power; reject it as null and void legally, and consider it an attack on the historical, legal, natural and national rights of the Palestinian people, a deliberate undermining of all peace efforts, an impetus for extremism and terrorism, and a threat to international peace and security."
In another summit held in Istanbul in May 2018, the OIC condemned the "savage crimes" committed by Israelis against Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and called on the international community to provide protection for the Palestinian people.
In relation to the U.S.' decision to cut its support to the main U.N. program for Palestinian refugees, Çavuşoğlu stressed that 500,000 Palestinian students study in the schools supported by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) and added that Turkey has increased the amount of its support to prevent suffering due to cut by the U.S. The minister stressed that countries including Sweden, Japan and Germany as well as the EU have increased their support to make up for the U.S.' decision.
In August, the Donald Trump administration announced that Washington would no longer commit funding to the main U.N. program for Palestinian refugees, completely cutting funding for the UNRWA after providing $365 million last year.
The UNRWA provides education, health care, food aid and other social services to more than 5 million Palestinian refugees in the occupied West Bank and Gaza as well as in Jordan, Syria and Lebanon.
During a meeting last month held on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly, the UNRWA received pledges of $118 million from donor countries, including Turkey, to help it overcome a crisis triggered by U.S. funding cuts.
The new pledges reduce the shortfall facing the UNRWA from $186 million to $68 million, UNRWA Commissioner General Pierre Krahenbuhl previously said last month.
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