Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon used the 65th anniversary of the United Nations agency that helps Palestinian refugees to appeal for an immediate resumption of Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations and an end to unilateral actions "that erode trust."

Ban told a U.N. conference Tuesday marking the anniversary of the U.N. Relief and World Agency that UNRWA was never meant to exist for 65 years — but "it exists because of political failure."

UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krahenbuhl said there are over five million registered Palestinian refugees in the region today, which equates to the population of Norway or Singapore, who "face an existential crisis on many fronts."

Hanan Ashrawi, the special representative of the Palestinian president, said the refugee population now spans four generations and continues "to endure grave hardships and deprivation."