UNRWA funding needs emphasized during King’s US visit


Published: 2018-06-23 12:42

Last Updated: 2018-06-23 14:55

King Abdullah, Mike Pompeo at the US State Department.
King Abdullah, Mike Pompeo at the US State Department.
Roya News Source

During the first of a several-day working visit to the US, King Abdullah met on Friday with a number of government officials including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Secretary of Defence James Mattis, Security Adviser John Bolton.

During the meeting with Pompeo, the King stressed the importance of stepping up efforts to relaunch Palestinian-Israeli peace negotiations based on the two-state solution and addressed the need to support UNRWA to enable it to continue its education, health, and relief services for Palestinian refugees, the the King’s official website reported.

The necessity to support the UN agency to continue its humanitarian role was also one of the topics discussed in the separate meetings with Mattis and Bolton respectively.

King Abdullah also held two meetings with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, touching on Jordan’s economic reform programmes and its response to challenges.

In return the officials expressed appreciation for Jordan’s efforts in hosting Syrian refugees and its measures to bolster its economy’s ability to overcome challenges.

The meetings come a day after State Department Spokesperson, Heather Nauert, answered a journalist's question regarding UNRWA during the daily policy briefing.

The journalist pointed out that Nauert had stated earlier that UNRWA requested more funds “every summer” and asked her whether she thought that the agency was exaggerating its appeal.

The spokesperson insisted that the agency needed to “determine a way to better manage its budgeting and its finances...because every year around this time, late summer/fall, there are emergency appeals for more funding,” adding that “other countries” also shared the US’s view.

Nauert maintained that the US was not to be held responsible even after the journalist inquired whether that did not “defy logic” as the US slashing its donations to UNRWA by half in the beginning of the year was the main reason behind the struggles facing the agency.

In the middle of March, UNRWA’s financial deficit stood at $465 million, which led to an urgent meeting attended by 90 states in order to help solve the organization’s financial crisis.

Read more: UNRWA deficit reaches $465 million