Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
March 4, 2019
The government of Afghanistan has contributed $1 million to the main United Nations agency that supports Palestinian refugees.
In a ceremony in Istanbul on March 3, Abdul Rahim Sayed Jan, Afghanistan’s ambassador to Turkey, handed the donation to Pierre Kraehenbuehl, commissioner of the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA).
Turkey’s foreign minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, praised Kabul for the donation and said that despite the hardships suffered by the Afghan people, their country has shown “the most beautiful example of international brotherhood with its noble act.”
The United States in August 2018 announced it will cut all funding for the UN agency.
The State Department at the time said the U.S. administration “has carefully reviewed the issue and determined that the United States will not make additional contributions to UNRWA.”
It added that UNRWA’s business model and fiscal practices were an “irredeemably flawed operation.”
At the time, the decision was denounced by Palestinian leaders, with President Mahmud Abbas calling it a “flagrant assault” on the Palestinian people.
UNRWA said the agency was “disappointed” with the U.S. decision but that it would seek to fill the gap with extra funding from supporters in Europe, Asia, and the Persian Gulf.
UNRWA says it provides services to about 5 million Palestinian refugees. Most are descendants from individuals who fled Palestine in the 1948 war that led to the creation of the state of Israel.
Its annual budget is around $925 million, funded through international donations.
Based on reporting by AP, Reuters, dpa, and MENAFN