Feb 2, 2024, 6:00 PM

China urges US, others to reconsider UNRWA fund suspension

China urges US, others to reconsider UNRWA fund suspension

TEHRAN, Feb. 02 (MNA) – Extending support to the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, China on Thursday called on the US, UK, and others to reconsider their decision to suspend funding to UNRWA.

The agency has “made the important effort in easing the humanitarian situation in Gaza, playing an indispensable and irreplaceable role,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told a press briefing in Beijing, Anadolu reported.

“We call on the international community, especially major donors, to prioritize the lives of the people in Gaza, reconsider the decision to suspend funding, and continue to support the work of UNRWA,” he said, stressing that “collective punishment” against the people in Gaza should be avoided.

The agency's funding crisis was sparked by Israeli allegations that some of its employees in the Gaza Strip took part in the Oct. 7 attack on Israel. Several countries have since then suspended funding for the agency, which was established in 1949 to help Palestinian refugees across the Middle East.

“Under the current circumstances, there’s no other choice than a cease-fire that can deescalate the crisis and there’s no other task that is more pressing than protecting civilians," the spokesman stressed.

He said China supports the UN in “conducting an independent, just and objective investigation” into the allegations by Tel Aviv.

The spokesman argued that ensuring the "normal and orderly operation of UNRWA means preserving the most basic life guarantee for the people in Gaza and the last string of hope for the almost desperate refugees."

Beijing’s backing of the UNRWA came as the Palestinian death toll from Israel's offensive against the Gaza Strip crossed 27,000, besides mass displacement, destruction, and conditions for a famine in the blockaded enclave.

In a separate statement, UNRWA chief Philippe Lazzarini said many donor countries suspended $440 million worth of funding to the agency as the war in Gaza continues unabated.

“At the time the International Court of Justice calls for more humanitarian assistance, it is the time to reinforce not to weaken UNRWA,” he said on X. “We are the largest aid organization in one of the most severe and complex humanitarian crises in the world."

"I echo the call of the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to resume funding to UNRWA. If funding remains suspended, we will most likely be forced to shut down our operations by the end of February not only in Gaza but also across the region,” he added.


News ID 211595


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