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EU pledges continued support to UNRWA

Sept. 2, 2018 11:53 A.M. (Updated: Sept. 3, 2018 2:22 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- The European Union issued a statement on Saturday pledging that it will continue to support the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) after the United States administration’s "regrettable" decision to end all funding to the agency.

The EU issued a statement pledging continued support to UNRWA, which implies that the EU may increase funding to the agency if necessary, following the US decision to end funds and after UNRWA’s announcement that it currently faces a budget deficit of $270 million.

On Friday, the US administration officially announced it was ending all funding to UNRWA, which could cause serious consequences for the humanitarian situation in the region, as the US was UNRWA’s largest donor.

The statement said "The EU is committed to secure the continuation and sustainability of the agency’s work which is vital for stability and security in the region."

The statement also urged the United States to reconsider the decision to end of funding to the agency, calling the decision "regrettable, one which leaves a substantial gap in the agency's funding."

The statement added that other than the 28 EU member states "many others in the international community, including many Arab states, have pledged their support to the continuity of the work that UNRWA is doing."

The statement stressed the importance of continued international support for UNWRA, which runs schools for hundreds of Palestinian children across the Palestinian territories, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria.

"The EU will continue to engage with the US and its other regional and international partners to work towards that common goal."

In addition, prior to the US announcement on Friday, the government of Germany also pledged to increase funds to UNRWA. The German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said "The loss of this organization could unleash an uncontrollable chain reaction."

Many other countries, such as Japan, Qatar, and the UAE have contributed funds to the agency, in order for the funds to be utilized to sustain the agency’s food aid and education programs in all its fields of operation.

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