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UN, UNRWA express deep regret towards US decision

Sept. 1, 2018 11:50 A.M. (Updated: Sept. 2, 2018 11:18 A.M.)
NEW YORK (Ma'an) -- United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres expressed deep regret towards the United States' decision to end all funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), on Friday.

The spokesperson of Guterres, Stephane Dijarric, said in a statement "we regret the United States' decision to provide no further funding to UNRWA, which provides essential services to Palestine refugees and contributes to stability in the region."

He added that "UNRWA has a strong record of providing high-quality education, health and other essential services, often in extremely difficult circumstances, to Palestine refugees who are in great need."

The Secretary-General called upon other countries to help fill the remaining financial gap in order for the UNRWA to be able to continue to provide vital assistance.

The spokesperson of UNRWA, Chris Gunness, also expressed the agency's "deep regret and disappointment" towards the decision.

Gunnes tweeted on his official Twitter account that "this decision is all the more surprising given that UNRWA and the United States renewed a funding agreement in December 2017 which had acknowledged the successful, dedicated and professional management of the Agency."

"We reject in the strongest possible terms the criticism that UNRWA's schools, health centers, and emergency assistance programs are''irredeemably flawed'. These very programs have a proven track record in creating one of the most successful human development processes and results in the Middle East. The international state community, our donors and host countries have consistently praised UNRWA for its achievements and standards."

He also said that UNRWA "will continue to provide high quality services and assistance to over 5.4 million Palestine refugees in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, Gaza, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria."
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