UNRWA Asks Arab Nations for Funds After U.S. Aid Cut

CAIRO (AP) -
UNRWA
UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Kraehenbuehl addresses the Arab League foreign ministers emergency meeting on U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Yerushalayim as the capital of Israel, in Cairo, on Thursday. (Reuters/Mohamed Abd El Ghany)

The U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees is asking Arab nations for funds after the Trump administration cut tens of millions of dollars of aid money.

UNRWA’s chief, Pierre Krähenbühl, spoke to an Arab League meeting of foreign ministers Thursday in Cairo, saying the U.S. cut “is the most severe crisis” in the agency’s history.

So far, Kuwait is the only Arab country to answer the agency’s appeal for financial help. Ten others — Russia and nine European countries — have also pledged to speed up their contributions

UNRWA, which serves some 5 million Palestinian refugees and their descendants, had a budget of over $1 billion last year, with the U.S. being the largest donor, giving a third of the total budget. The Trump administration withheld half of the first installment of payments this year, demanding reforms as a condition for future aid.

Krähenbühl asserted that the U.S. action was politically motivated, and not due to a need for reforms.