Italy to resume funding for UN agency for Palestinian refugees

AFP , Saturday 25 May 2024

Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani on Saturday announced Rome would restore funding for the UN agency for Palestinian refugees as he met with Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Mustafa.

Displaced Palestinians walk in the courtyard of a UNRWA school in Nuseirat in the central Gaza Strip
Displaced Palestinians walk in the courtyard of a UNRWA school in Nuseirat in the central Gaza Strip on May 17, 2024, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the militant group Hamas. AFP

 

"Italy has decided to resume financing specific projects intended for assistance to Palestinian refugees, but only after rigorous controls that guarantee that not even a penny risks ending up supporting terrorism," he said.

Tajani said he had informed the visiting premier "that the government has arranged new funding for the Palestinian population, for a total of 35 million euros".

"Of this, five million will be allocated to UNRWA," he said in a statement, with the remaining 30 million euros allocated to Italy's "Food for Gaza" initiative in coordination with UN aid agencies.

UNRWA, which coordinates nearly all aid to Gaza, has been in crisis since January when Israel claimed that a dozen of its 13,000 Gaza employees were involved in the October attack on Israel.

That led many nations, including top donor the United States, to abruptly suspend funding to the agency, threatening its efforts to deliver aid in Gaza.

However, several countries have since resumed payments after the allegations were found to be unfounded.

An independent review of UNRWA, led by French former foreign minister Catherine Colonna said Israel had yet to provide evidence for its allegations.

Created in 1949, the agency employs around 30,000 people in the Palestinian territories, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria.

Mustafa was later due to meet with Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni.

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