Germany To Boost Palestine Aid Funding After Cuts By US

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Germany has pledged to significantly boost its funding for the U.N. agency that supports Palestinian refugees after the United States cut its aid.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said that his country had already provided 81 million euros ($94 million) in aid this year and was preparing to increase its contribution. In an announcement on Friday he said that his government is preparing to allocate a considerable amount of additional funds to the UNRWA, but did not give any figures.

Ten other nations have rushed to deliver their funds early after the UN agency appealed to donor countries to speed up their funding to ensure that services continue after US President Donald Trump slashed funding to the organization.

Press TV reports: A decision by US President Donald Trump’s administration to significantly decrease the country’s funding for the UN agency has left the UNRWA with a $217 million deficit, which is not going to be covered by Berlin’s additional contribution, as announced by Maas.

In a letter to EU foreign ministers, the German FM said his country has already offered $94 million to the UN’s aid agency this year and will increase its contribution in the future, but the additional amount won’t be enough to compensate for the deficit.

Therefore, he noted, the EU and other states need to work out and find a “sustainable” source of finance for the UNRWA.

The decision by the government of Angela Merkel is viewed as the last in a series of assertive stances held by Berlin against the US’ policies on trade, climate change, and military spending, among other issues

The US, which roughly provided one-third of the UNRWA’s budget, suspended $65 million of the $125 million in aid it planned to contribute to the program back in January.

The decision forced the UNRWA’s secretary-general, Pierre Krähenbühl, to start a fundraising appeal, to which Belgium was the first to respond, offering a generous $23 million.

A few months later, Qatar, Canada, Switzerland, Turkey, New Zealand, Norway, Korea, Mexico, Slovakia, India and France have also pledged $100 million in new financing to the UNRWA after an emergency donor conference held in Rome back in March.

However, the agency is still suffering its worst funding crisis in its 68-year history, according to UN officials.

Niamh Harris
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