UNRWA Says No Official Statement from US on Cutting Funds

Published January 8th, 2018 - 09:10 GMT
The U.S. is the largest donor to the relief agency, with a pledge of around $370 million as of 2016 (Shutterstock/File)
The U.S. is the largest donor to the relief agency, with a pledge of around $370 million as of 2016 (Shutterstock/File)

 

  • UNRWA said it has not received any official statement about cutting funds from the U.S.
  • The agency said it only learned about Trump's plan to freeze funding "through the media"
  • Trump had threatened to withhold aid payments to Palestinians last week
  • The U.S. is the largest donor to the relief agency

 

UNRWA said Sunday it has not received any official notification from Washington about the U.S. government's alleged decision to freeze its funding for the U.N. agency that provides aid to Palestinian refugees.

In a statement made on Sunday, UNRWA Spokesperson Sami Mshasha said that the relief agency learned "only through the media" that the U.S. administration has frozen its funding for the agency.

"We emphasize here that we have received no official notification from the U.S. administration about any decision concerning the freezing of the U.S. funding for UNRWA," Sami said.

In a report on Friday, later denied by a State Department official, the Axios news site said Washington had frozen $125 million in funding for UNRWA.

Axios’ report came a few days after U.S. President Donald Trump threatened to withhold future aid payments to Palestinians. Axios said the funding was frozen until the U.S. government finishes its review of aid to the Palestinian Authority.

Last Tuesday, Trump said he would withhold money from the Palestinians, accusing them of being "no longer willing to talk peace" with Israel.

 

 

"We pay HUNDRED OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS a year and get no appreciation or respect. They don't even want to negotiate a long overdue peace treaty with Israel ... with the Palestinians no longer willing to talk peace, why should we make any of these massive future payments to them?" Trump said on Twitter.

Axios claimed that the sum, a third of the annual U.S. donation to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, was supposed to be delivered by January 1, citing three unidentified Western diplomats.

Reuters quoted unnamed State Department official as saying that, “[Axios] story is very misleading. Just because they were expecting the money on the first, and they did not get it at that time, does not mean it was suspended or canceled.

“Deliberations are ongoing, and we have until mid-January to make a final decision.” Asked if any preliminary decision had been made, the official replied: “No. And reports to that effect are false.”

The U.S. is the largest donor to the relief agency, with a pledge of around $370 million as of 2016, according to UNRWA’s website.

 

This article has been adapted from its original source.


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