US to stop aid to Palestinian refugee agency

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Washington: The Trump Administration has announced an end to all funding to the United Nations Palestine Refugee Agency (UNRWA), alleging it to be “irredeemably flawed”.

“The administration has carefully reviewed the issue and determined that the United States will not make additional contributions to UNRWA,” State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert said on Friday.

“The fundamental business model and fiscal practices that have marked UNRWA for years tied to UNRWA’s endlessly and exponentially expanding community of entitled beneficiaries is simply unsustainable and has been in crisis mode for many years,” she said.

“The United States will no longer commit further funding to this irredeemably flawed operation, Nauert said.

In January, it had made a USD 60 million contribution to the UNRWA.

At the same time, she said the US was very mindful of and deeply concerned regarding the impact upon innocent Palestinians, especially school children, of the failure of the UNRWA and key members of the regional and international donor community to reform and reset the body.

These children are part of the future of the Middle East. Palestinians, wherever they live, deserve better than an endlessly crisis-driven service provision model. They deserve to be able to plan for the future, she said.

As such, the United States will intensify dialogue with the United Nations, host governments, and international stakeholders about new models and new approaches, which may include direct bilateral assistance from the United States and other partners, that can provide today’s Palestinian children a more durable and dependable path towards a brighter tomorrow, Nauert said.

The United Nations regretted the US decision in this regard.

“We regret the United States’ decision to provide no further funding to UNRWA, which provides essential services to Palestine refugees and contributes to stability in the region. The US has traditionally been the largest single contributor to UNRWA. We appreciate its support over the years,” a statement attributable to Stephane Dujarric, Spokesman for the UN Secretary-General, said. PTI

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