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UN regrets US decision to stop funding to UN agency for Palestinian refugees

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United Nations, Sep 1 :  UN chief Antonio Guterres has expressed regret over the US’ decision to provide no further funding to the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, urging other countries to help fill the financial gap.

His remarks came after the US decided to stop funding to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).

The Trump Administration said that beyond the budget gap itself and failure to mobilise adequate and appropriate burden sharing, 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.

“The US has traditionally been the largest single contributor to UNRWA. We appreciate its support over the years,” a statement issued by the Secretary-General’s spokesman Stephane Dujarric said on Friday.

The UN Secretary-General called on other countries to help fill the remaining financial gap, so that UNRWA can continue to provide this vital assistance, as well as a sense of hope for this vulnerable population.

“UNRWA has a strong record of providing high-quality education, health and other essential services, often in extremely difficult circumstances, to Palestine refugees who are in great need,” the UN statement said, adding that the UN agency enjoys the full confidence of the Secretary-General and its Commissioner General Pierre Krahenbuhl has led a rapid, innovative and tireless effort to overcome the unexpected financial crisis UNRWA has faced this year.

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