Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed stresses UAE's 'unwavering support' for UNRWA

Minister of Foreign Affairs implores countries that have cut funding to the UN agency for Palestinian refugees to urgently reconsider their decision

Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, Minister of Foreign Affairs, highlighted the UN agency's key role in delivering crucial aid to embattled Palestinians in Gaza. Photo: UAE Presidential Court
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Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, Minister of Foreign Affairs, has stressed the UAE's “unwavering support” for the humanitarian work of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees following Israeli claims that some of its employees were involved in the October 7 Hamas attack.

He highlighted the UNRWA's key role in delivering crucial aid to embattled Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip during a call on Tuesday with the agency's commissioner general Philippe Lazzarini.

Sheikh Abdullah commended the body's prompt action in investigating the allegations made against staff members, state news agency Wam reported.

He also stressed that the matter should not have negative repercussions on the UNRWA's humanitarian efforts in Gaza, where about 1.9 million have been displaced due to the continuing conflict.

The agency is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions from UN member states.

Several countries – including the US, Britain, Germany, Sweden, the Netherlands, France and Japan – have suspended funding to the UN agency in light of the controversy.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said on Sunday that “swift action” had been taken against a group of Palestinian employees accused of involvement in the October 7 attack against Israel.

He also warned that the agency was about to run out of money for its work in Gaza after funding was cut off by a number of countries.

“The UN is taking swift action … Of the 12 people implicated, nine were immediately identified and terminated by the commissioner general of UNRWA, Philippe Lazzarini; one is confirmed dead, and the identity of the two others is being clarified,” Mr Guterres said.

Sheikh Abdullah called on those nations that have halted funding to urgently reconsider this decision and continue to provide essential support to allow it to carry it out its work in the enclave.

He and Mr Lazzarini also discussed the need to ensure unimpeded aid deliveries to the Palestinian people to prevent further loss of life and avoid exacerbating the humanitarian crisis.

Updated: January 31, 2024, 4:44 AM