Global community pledges $100M to UNRWA

Global community pledges $100M to UNRWA

Despite the new pledges, however, the UNRWA chief warned the agency would be able to run its operations until mid-summer if no further funds were made available.

New pledges for about 100 million US dollars were announced here on Thursday, following a donor conference on the funding crisis affecting the United Nations agency assisting Palestinian refugees (UNRWA). The meeting in Rome, which was co-chaired by the Foreign Ministers of Jordan, Sweden and Egypt, was attended by the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, the EU High Representative Federica Mogherini and the Palestinian Prime Minister Hamdallah to discuss UNRWA's financial situation.

United Nations officials said the countries providing the new financing included Turkey, Qatar, Canada, Switzerland, New Zealand, Norway, South Korea, Mexico, Slovakia, India and France.

"If UNRWA would not exist, if these services were not provided, the security of region would be severely undermined", Guterres told reporters.

"In a series of tweets, Trump had said: ".

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

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The U.S. had been UNWRA's largest donor, supplying almost 30 percent of its budget.

UNRWA continues to face a budget shortfall of $350 million for 2018 even after the latest funding pledges.

Guterres said the absence of a comprehensive solution to the challenges facing UNRWA would contribute to the weakening of its role because of the unavailability of resources needed.

For almost 70 years, UNRWA has been the lifeline to the more than five million registered Palestinian refugees in the occupied Palestinian territories and Lebanon, Jordan and Syria. Jordan's foreign minister, Ayman Safadi, said the conference was "a very successful beginning" but that more fundraising was necessary.

UNRWA's activities include providing education to 515,216 young Palestinians, as well as health care and social service, infrastructure improvement, and microfinance support.

The agency's commissioner-general, Pierre Krahenbehl, said in a Twitter post "Palestine Refugees deserve recognition of their rights & stable delivery of UNRWA services".

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