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Egypt urges US to reverse decision to cut off funding for UN refugee agency

January 31, 2024 at 7:02 pm

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry speaks during a press conference in Cairo, Egypt on 09 January, 2024 [KHALED DESOUKI/AFP via Getty Images]

Egypt called on the US, on Wednesday, to reverse a decision to suspend funding for the UN Palestinian refugee agency (UNRWA), Anadolu Agency reports.

Egyptian Foreign Minister, Sameh Shoukry, held talks in Cairo with US Special Envoy for Middle East Humanitarian Issues, David Satterfield.

Discussions between the two sides took up the deteriorating humanitarian conditions in the Gaza Strip and the destruction of infrastructure in the enclave, the Egyptian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

“Requested the US and other donors to reverse a decision to suspend funds for UNRWA and wait for the results of the Agency’s internal investigation,” the statement said.

READ: Israel attempting to exact revenge on UNRWA for genocide case

At least 18 countries, along with the EU, have suspended their funding for UNRWA based on Israel’s criticism that 12 of the agency’s staff participated in the 7 October attacks by Hamas.

Last week, the Agency launched an investigation regarding the Israeli investigation.

Israeli has accused the UNRWA’s staff of working for Hamas since the outbreak of the Gaza conflict, in what was considered a “justification” for attacking the organisation’s schools and facilities in the Sstrip, which houses tens of thousands of displaced people, according to analysts.

Israel has repeatedly equated UNRWA staff with Hamas members in efforts to discredit them, providing no proof of the claims, while lobbying hard to have UNRWA closed as it is the only UN agency to have a specific mandate to look after the basic needs of Palestinian refugees. If the agency no longer exists, argues Israel, then the refugee issue must no longer exist, and the legitimate right for Palestinian refugees to return to their land will be unnecessary. Israel has denied that right of return since the late 1940s, even though its own membership of the UN was made conditional upon Palestinian refugees being allowed to return to their homes and land.

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