POST TIME: 1 September, 2018 00:00 00 AM
US to end all funding to UN agency for Palestinian refugees

US to end all funding to UN agency for Palestinian refugees

Washington: The Trump administration has decided to end all funding to the United Nations agency tasked with supporting Palestinian refugees and call for a large reduction in the number of Palestinians considered to be refugees, a senior administration official and a regional diplomat briefed on the decision have told CNN.

A formal announcement with respect to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, known as UNRWA, is expected in the next few weeks. The administration is expected to criticize the way the organization operates. Foreign Policy first reported the Trump administration's decision to end funding for the UN agency. The United States has for long been the biggest individual donor to UNRWA, established by the UN General Assembly in 1949.

The administration official told CNN the decision was made at a meeting between Jared Kushner, US President Donald Trump's son-in-law and a White House senior adviser, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, but that US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley had also been pushing for the move.

The White House did not immediately return a request for comment on the decision. UNRWA offers educational, health and social services across the West Bank, Gaza, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon to registered Palestinian refugees. The agency educates about 500,000 children in nearly 700 schools and its doctors see more than 9 million patients in nearly 150 primary health clinics every year.

A senior administration official criticized the agency in a statement to CNN earlier this month, saying that it "has perpetuated and exacerbated the refugee crisis and must be changed so the Palestinian people can reach their full potential."