S&Ds condemn the freezing of funding to UNRWA by the Trump administration

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Press release

Strasbourg, 17 January 2018

The S&D Group strongly protests against the announcement of the US administration to freeze 65 million USD budget support to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), the UN agency providing basic services to millions of Palestine refugees across the Middle East.

S&D vice-president Elena Valenciano MEP said:
 
"We condemn and strongly protest against this unacceptable decision of president Trump and his administration. As the United States contributed more than 350 million USD to UNRWA's budget last year, this announcement may result in a cut of more than 290 million USD in reality, undermining the Agency and the very basic services it provides to Palestine refugees across the Middle East. We are talking about the food, the health and the human dignity of millions of people who have been living as refugees for decades waiting for a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But, we are also talking about the access to education of more than half a million Palestinian children, the future generation. President Trump is playing with fire in the Middle East at their expense without offering any new hope in the peace process.

S&D vice-president Victor Boştinaru MEP said:
 
"UNRWA finds itself in the deepest financial crisis of its history. This is the very moment to express our solidarity with Palestine refugees and to give our support to the Agency. We urge the European Union and our member states to play a leading role in mobilising the international community to create a stable funding scheme for UNRWA in a multilateral context, which should be predictable and sustainable in the long run. We have to find an immediate response to the current crisis, but we should also use the momentum to think of long-term mechanisms which can guarantee that UNRWA services to hundreds of thousands of vulnerable Palestinian families cannot be instrumentalised for political purposes."

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