TURKEY

Turkey terms US move to cut funding of UN body worrying

TURKEY TERMS US MOVE TO CUT FUNDING OF UN BODY WORRYING

Turkey has termed the recent U.S. move to cut funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) and Israel's supportive remarks as "worrying".

In a written statement released on Monday, Foreign Ministry said: "It is clear that more restrictions on the budget of UNRWA, which is currently in a financial bottleneck, will negatively affect the lives of more than five million Palestinians, as well as hamper the efforts towards a two-state political solution and regional stability."

The UNRWA was established following the 1948 Arab-Israeli conflict, with the UN General Assembly Resolution 302 (IV) dated Dec. 8, 1949, for the purpose of improving the living conditions of Palestinian refugees and protecting their rights.

"Since its inception, Turkey has taken an active role in UNRWA and from July 2017 onward has assumed the vice chairmanship of the Agency's Advisory Commission.

"UNRWA has been providing invaluable services for Palestinians in the fields of education, health, social services, microfinance, infrastructure, housing, first aid as well as the protection of the rights of refugees," it said.

Underlining the importance of maintaining international financial support to UNRWA for Palestinians' lives, the ministry urged the subject to "be viewed from a humanitarian perspective".

"Within the framework of its role as vice chairman of the Advisory Commission and its upcoming chairmanship from July 2018 onward, Turkey will continue to contribute to the international efforts to increase financial backing to the agency and will also increase its own support," it added.

U.S President Donald Trump is yet to make a final decision but U.S. administration is preparing to cut tens of millions of dollars from the agency.

Earlier this month, Trump tweeted that the United States received "no appreciation or respect" in return for its aid to Palestinians.

"We have taken Jerusalem, the toughest part of the negotiation, off the table, but Israel, for that, would have had to pay more. But with the Palestinians no longer willing to talk peace, why should we make any of these massive future payments to them?" he wrote.

On Jan. 7, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressing his support to Trump's statement regarding the UN agency, said the UNRWA should cease from operating in the region.

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