Belgium Pledges $23M Over 3 Years to Save UNWRA From US Cuts

UNRWA a lifeline we can't afford to lose, refugees say

UNRWA a lifeline we can't afford to lose, refugees say

In the wake of the $65 million cut to aid, announced by the United States on Tuesday, UNRWA is facing possibly its most severe funding crisis ever.

But State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert confirmed on Tuesday that the USA government had written to UNRWA to inform it that it was withholding $65m out of a total of $120m in funding pledged as a "first tranche" in 2018. "All humanitarian aid should be provided on the basis of need", said ADC.

State department spokeswoman Heather Nauert repeated President Trump's demand on other nations to provide more funds because he believes the US pay more than its fair share. "This is not aimed at punishing anyone".

"The United States government, and the Trump administration, believe that there should be more so-called burden-sharing to go around", she said.

A Palestinian official quickly criticised Washington's decision to withhold some of the money and United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he was unaware of any change on aid but he was "very concerned" about the possibility of a cut in funding. That means the United States withheld $65 million from that installment, calling into question the remaining USA contribution, which reached approximately $350 million in 2017.

"Funding UNRWA or any humanitarian agency is the discretion of any sovereign member state of the United Nations", he said, in a statement.

UNRWA commissioner-general Pierre Krähenbühl said in a statement that the reduced USA contribution "threatens one of the most successful and innovative human development endeavors in the Middle East".

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Speaking during an interview with Reuters at the Oval Office Trump said Russian Federation, a country he had hoped to forge friendly relations with after his 2016 election win was not helping matters at all. The move comes just a fortnight after the United States president said that the U.S. does not get any form of respect or appreciation from the aid it gives to countries that are torn by conflict or natural disaster.

"With the Palestinians no longer willing to talk peace, why should we make any of these massive future payments to them", the tweet continued.

The Palestinians are "not serious in truly getting to peace" with Israel, US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said in a Voice of America interview with Greta Van Susteren on Wednesday. "Living conditions in Gaza, Syria, the West bank and elsewhere in the region are particularly tough", De Croo said in the statement.

The US announcement on UNRWA's funding came after US President Donald Trump had threatened on January 2 to cut aid to Palestinians.

Yesterday Israel's Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon intimated cutting the funding was a punishment for actions taken against Israel in or near UN facilities.

He accused UNRWA's leaders of allowing "terror tunnels" to be dug under schools and teaching Palestinian children to deny the existence of the state of Israel.

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