Australia will help pay for additional teachers and doctors for Palestinian refugees in the Middle East through a new 90 million Australian dollar ($90 million) funding agreement with the United Nations.
The agreement was signed in the Australian capital of Canberra on Monday by Foreign Minister Bob Carr and Filippo Grandi, commissioner general of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees.
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Australia will provide the money over five years to support Palestinian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.
Last week the US Senate's Appropriations Committee approved legislation calling for an accurate account of the Palestinian refugees who receive assistance from the United Nations Relief and Works Agency.
The amendment to the FY 2013 funding bill would require the secretary of state to submit a report to Congress on the number of Palestinian refugees who were displaced by the 1948 Arab-Israeli conflict, the number of descendants and the number of those receiving assistance from UNRWA.
The legislation is led by Republican Senator Mark Kirk, who aims to examine how the number of refugees who receive aid grew from 750,000 in 1950 to 5 million today. Roughly a third of UNRWA's recipients live in camps in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.
Yitzhak Benhorin contributed to the report