Egypt criticizes western countries’ decision to cut funding to UN agency in Gaza

Egypt’s Foreign Minister, Sameh Shoukry, expressed criticism on Sunday over the decision by certain Western countries to slash funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in Gaza. The move follows Israel’s allegations that 12 UNRWA employees were involved in the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas.

Shoukry, during a joint news conference in Cairo with Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan, voiced surprise at the strong language used in connection with the allegations against UNRWA employees. He pointed out that similar expressions were not employed when addressing the tragic deaths of over 26,000 innocent civilians in Gaza, predominantly women and children.

The foreign minister deemed it unacceptable to diminish UNRWA’s capacity to fulfill its responsibilities due to the actions of certain individuals. He emphasized that holding the entire agency responsible for the actions of a few is unwarranted, given the crucial role the agency plays.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged countries to reinstate funding to UNRWA, warning that the agency might have to reduce aid to over 2 million Palestinians in Gaza as early as February.

The humanitarian crisis in Gaza has worsened due to fighting and Israeli restrictions, hindering the delivery of essential aid. A quarter of the population faces starvation, intensifying the urgency of maintaining UNRWA’s operations.

Regarding the 12 employees implicated in the attack, Guterres reported that nine were immediately terminated, one was confirmed dead, and two others were still being identified. He assured that they would be held accountable, including through criminal prosecution.

UNRWA, with 13,000 staffers in Gaza, is predominantly composed of Palestinians, serving various roles from educators in agency-run schools to medical professionals and aid workers.

Separately, Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister, Prince Faisal bin Farhan, criticized Israel’s rejection of the U.N. top court’s call to prevent death, destruction, and acts of genocide in Gaza. He emphasized that this rejection has contributed to the dire situation, approaching 30,000 deaths in Gaza. Bin Farhan called on the international community to value international law and coordinate efforts to address the crisis and achieve peace.

Source: Africanews

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