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Egypt expresses deep concern over US decision to halt funds to UN Palestinian refugees agency

Ahram Online , Sunday 2 Sep 2018
 Ahmed Abu-Zeid
File Photo: Egypt's Foreign Ministery Spokesman Ahmed Abu-Zeid (Photo: Al-Ahram)
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Egypt said it is deeply concerned after the US decision to end its decades-long funding for the UN agency that helps Palestinian refugees.

The US State Department said on Friday it is halting funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), saying its business model and fiscal practices are "irredeemably flawed operation."

Egypt's foreign ministry spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid expressed Egypt's "deep concern about the humanitarian situation of the Palestinian refugees, which is becoming more difficult day after day, especially with the increasing restrictions on UNRWA and not enabling it to fulfill its important role to care about vital and necessary refugee affairs."

"The recent US decision came at a critical time, in which concerted international efforts are made to maintain the pace of the Agency's humanitarian work," the spokesman added in a statement on Saturday.

He added that Cairo will communicate with all international parties in the coming period to support UNRWA and to take whatever necessary measures to maintain the Agency's humanitarian work.

UNRWA expressed late on Friday “deep regret and disappointment" at the decision and said it rejects “in the strongest possible terms” the Trump administration’s criticism of the agency.

The United States released $60 million in funds to UNRWA in January, but withheld another $65 million, from a promised $365 million for the year.

The 68-year-old agency says it today provides services to around 5 million Palestinian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Gaza and the West Bank.

The latest announcement comes a week after the State Department said it would slash $200 million in aid to economic programs in the West Bank and Gaza.
 

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