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UK Reaffirms Commitment to Palestinian Refugees, Pledges to Fund UNRWA

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The British Minister for the Middle East and North Africa, Alistair Burt announced on Sunday that the United Kingdom will continue to provide support for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugee [UNRWA] as well as Palestinian refugees in the region, amid a halving of payments from the US administration.


"My officials are working closely with UNRWA and other European Union partners on how best to ensure continuity of essential services to Palestinian refugees," Burt said.

He said that Britain was "concerned at the impact on UNRWA's activities whenever unexpected reductions or delays in predicted donor disbursements occur."

He further added that his country intends to provide, "around £50 million [$69.5 million] in 2017/18" in order to aid Palestinian refugees.

The United States last week announced that it would freeze over half its contribution to the Palestinian refugee agency, reducing payments from a current $125 million to $60 million.

UNRWA, the second biggest employer of the Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip after the Palestinian Authorities, stated that it had already began to feel the impact with dozens of teachers in East al-Quds and workers in refugees camps losing their jobs.

This was the latest in a string of blows impacting the Palestinians since US President Donald Trump's decision to recognize occupied al-Quds as the so-called ‘capital' of the ‘Israeli' entity.

For his part, Pierre Krahenbul head of UNRWA, expressed his concern saying: "this reduced contribution threatens one of the most successful and innovative human development endeavors in the Middle East."

The organization has been catering for the needs of Palestinian refugees since its creation for this specific purpose in 1949 and provides relief in the form of access to education, healthcare and social services to about 5 million people.

It is also active in Lebanon, Jordan and Syria.

Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team