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UK renews support for Palestinian refugees

Palestinian men carry food aid given by UNRWA in Gaza City, Gaza on 15 January 2018 [Ali Jadallah/Anadolu Agency]
Palestinian men carry food aid given by UNRWA in Gaza City, Gaza on 15 January 2018 [Ali Jadallah/Anadolu Agency]

Britain renewed its “reinforced” support for the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), a statement from its consulate in Jerusalem made clear on Friday. The statement was issued days after the US announced that it is cutting by half its financial support for the international organisation.

Britain has given £214 million to UNRWA since 2014, including £50m for the current financial year, 2017-18. According to the consulate statement, the government recognises the unique role that UNRWA plays in affording the basic needs of the Palestinian refugees in the occupied Palestinian territories, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon.

Read: UNRWA chief says US aid cut risks more Mideast instability

“After visiting several places run by UNRWA in Gaza and Bethlehem,” explained British Consul Philip Haul, “I see that its services are important. We are committed to continue supporting this organisation.” UNRWA offers basic education to more than half a million Palestinian refugees in 700 schools and health services to more than 2 million refugees every year.

On Sunday, Britain’s Minister for the Middle East and North Africa, Alistair Burt MP, said that his country would continue providing support for UNRWA. “My officials are working closely with UNRWA and other European Union partners on how best to ensure continuity of essential services to Palestinian refugees,” he confirmed.

Read: Belgium pledges to $23m of aid to UNRWA after US funding cut

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