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UN Agency for Palestinian Refugees Asks for Support Amid US Funding Cut

© REUTERS / Mohamad TorokmanA Palestinian man walks past a logo of United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in Jalazone refugee camp, near the West Bank city of Ramallah January 3, 2018
A Palestinian man walks past a logo of United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in Jalazone refugee camp, near the West Bank city of Ramallah January 3, 2018 - Sputnik International
MOSCOW (Sputnik) – The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) has called the US decision to cut financing for its activities a "formidable challenge" and asked partners for support, UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Kraehenbuehl said in a statement on Wednesday.

"[I am] calling on our partners — the host countries and our donors including those in the region — to rally in support and join UNRWA in creating new funding alliances and initiatives to ensure Palestine Refugee students continue to access education in our schools and the dignity of Palestine refugee children and their families is preserved through all our services," Kraehenbuehl said.

Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), residents of the besieged Yarmouk refugee camp near Damascus, Syria, queue to receive food supplies (File) - Sputnik International
PLO on Aid Cut: US 'Has No Compunction in Targeting the Innocent'
The UN official also urged "people of good will in every corner of the globe" to join the organization in responding to this crisis and #FundUNRWA to ensure that Palestine Refugee girls and boys can stand strong." In addition, Kraehenbuehl pointed out that in the next few days a global fund raising campaign to keep UNRWA schools and clinics open throughout 2018 and beyond would be launched.

He described the current situation as a "formidable challenge" in the fulfillment of the UNRWA mandate to provide Palestinians with key services such as education and health care.

READ MORE: Netanyahu Upholds Trump's Push to Cut Help to UN's Palestinian Refugee Agency

Another consequence of the US decision, according to Kraehenbuehl, is the destabilization of the situation in the Middle East.

"The reduced contribution also impacts regional security at a time when the Middle East faces multiple risks and threats, notably that of further radicalization," he said.

The UNRWA commissioner-general also assured Palestinians that the organization would continue to provide them with key services.

On January 5, media reported that the United States had frozen $125 million in funding to the UNRWA. On Tuesday, the State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said that Washington had decided to freeze $65 million in funding for the UN agency, however $60 million would be provided to sustain schools and health facilities.

The US step followed the January 2 tweet of US President Donald Trump, who accused the Palestinians of a lack of willingness to hold talks with Israel and expressed dissatisfaction that Palestine had no respect for the United States despite massive financial aid by Washington.

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