Iraq laments U.S. decision to halt funding to U.N. refugee agency

A Palestinian carries bags of flour at an aid distribution center run by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip September 3, 2018. REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa

Baghdad ( – The Iraqi Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed sorrow Monday over the U.S. decision to cut aid to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), terming the U.S. move as “disappointing”.

In a statement, quoted by AlSumaria News, Ahmed Mahjoub, the ministry’s spokesman, voiced Iraq’s rejection of the U.S. announcement that it will end its financial contributions to UNRWA, adding that the U.S. decision is “disappointing” as it will hinder peace efforts in the Middle East region.

“The decision taken by the U.S. administration will have a negative impact on the lives of more than five million Palestinians,” Mahjoub said, adding that “it is a gross violation of all human values.”

Mahjoub further reiterated that his ministry is looking forward to a unified Arab-Islamic stance to face the shortfall in the aid supplies to UNRWA.

UNRWA chairman Pierre Krahenbuhl critized on Sunday the U.S. announcement that it will end its financial contribution to the agency, saying that the UNRWA will continue to provide health care, education and social services to Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon.

The UNRWA chief also acknowledged “with deep appreciation the over 25 countries that advanced their expected annual contributions to earlier in the year to help us sustain operations” and his “immense gratitude to the 30 donors who have provided additional contributions to UNRWA’s core and emergency activities this year and those who have signed new multiyear agreements with us.”

He said, however, the agency is “still in critical need of over $200 [million] to survive this year’s crisis.”

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