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U.S. To Cut Funding To UN Agency That Supports Palestinians

U.S. State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert (file photo)

The United States has announced it will cut all funding for a UN agency that supports Palestinian refugees.

In a statement on August 31, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said its business model and fiscal practices were an "irredeemably flawed operation."

"The administration has carefully reviewed the issue and determined that the United States will not make additional contributions to UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency)," Nauert said.

UNRWA says it provides services to about 5 million Palestinian refugees. Most are descended from individuals who fled Palestine in the 1948 war that led to the creation of the state of Israel.

The decision was denounced by Palestinian leaders, with President Mahmud Abbas calling it a "flagrant assault" on the Palestinian people.

"Such a punishment will not succeed to change the fact that the United States no longer has a role in the region and that it is not a part of the solution" to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, Abbas said.

An UNRWA spokesman said the agency was "disappointed" with the U.S. decision, but would seek to fill the gap with extra funding from supporters in Europe, Asia, and the Persian Gulf.

Based on reporting by dpa and Reuters