US pauses additional funding for UNRWA; here’s the reason

According to the information, the statement has been released after the Secretary of State Antony J Blinken talked with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on January 25.

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Courtesy: ANI

The United States has placed a temporary hold on further financing for the organisation, amidst recent claims that employees of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) may have been complicit in the October 7 Hamas attack on Israel.

The US State Department released a statement stating that Secretary of State Antony J Blinken talked with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on January 25 and emphasised the need for a comprehensive and expeditious investigation into this problem.

Notably, the terror group Hamas targeted around 3,000 women, men, and children in Israel on October 7, with ages ranging from nine months to eighty years. Numerous women were murdered and brutally raped. Approximately 1,405 individuals were killed, while more than 200 were captured as hostages.

According to US State Department Spokesperson Matthew Miller, "the United States is extremely troubled by the allegations that twelve UNRWA employees may have been involved in the October 7 Hamas terrorist attack on Israel."

According to him, UNRWA's additional financing has been temporarily suspended by the State Department "while we review these allegations and the steps the United Nations is taking to address them."

Miller also asserted that the US welcomes the UN's decision to investigate the matter.

"We welcome the decision to conduct such an investigation and Secretary General Guterres' pledge to take decisive action to respond, should the allegations prove accurate. We also welcome the UN's announcement of a 'comprehensive and independent' review of UNRWA. There must be complete accountability for anyone who participated in the heinous attacks of October 7," the US State Department spokesperson said.

According to Miller, UNRWA is key in helping the Palestinian people survive by giving them food, medication, shelter, and other necessities of life. "Their work has saved lives, and it is important that UNRWA address these allegations and take any appropriate corrective measures, including reviewing its existing policies and procedures."

Meanwhile, the US has also reached out to the Israel government to seek more details about the allegations, and "we have briefed Members of Congress. We will remain in close contact with the United Nations and Israeli government regarding this matter," he added.