Saturday, June 22, 2024

Italy to resume funding for UN agency for Palestinian refugees

funding agency

ROME, MAY 25: Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani announced on Saturday that Rome would resume funding for the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA), at a meeting with Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Mustafa.
“Italy has decided to resume financing specific projects intended for assistance to Palestinian refugees but only after rigorous controls that guarantee that not even a penny risks ending up supporting terrorism”, he said.
Mustafa was also scheduled to meet Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni on what was his first trip to Europe since being appointed by Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas in March.
Tajani, whose country holds the G7 presidency this year, offered his Government’s “full support” to the Palestinian Authority.
“We are also committed as a G7 presidency to working towards a period of peace. We strongly ask for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza”, he said.
Tajani said he had informed Mustafa that Rome had “arranged new funding for the Palestinian population, of a total of 35 million euros ($38 million)”.
“Of this, 5 million will be allocated to UNRWA”, he said.
The remaining 30 million euros will be allocated to Italy’s “Food for Gaza” initiative in coordination with UN aid agencies.
UNRWA, which coordinates nearly all aid to Gaza, has been in crisis since January, when Israel accused about a dozen of its 13,000 Gaza employees of being involved in the October 7 attack on Israel by Hamas.
That led many nations, including top donor the United States, to abruptly suspend funding to the agency, threatening its efforts to deliver aid in Gaza, although several have since resumed payments.
An independent review of UNRWA, led by French former Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna, found some “neutrality-related issues” but said Israel had “yet to provide supporting evidence” for its leading allegations.
It also said UNRWA was “irreplaceable and indispensable to Palestinians’ human and economic development”… and was, for many, “a humanitarian lifeline”.
Created in 1949, the agency employs around 30,000 people in the occupied Palestinian territories, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria. (AP)