- Title: U.N. agency aiding Palestinians rejects U.S. bid to change its mandate
- Date: 23rd May 2019
- Summary: GAZA CITY, GAZA (FILE - SEPTEMBER 2, 2018) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF PEOPLE AT DISTRIBUTION CENTRE WORKERS MOVING WHEAT BAGS FOOD BAGS MAN MOVING FOOD BAGS WOMAN SEATED IN BACK OF HORSE-DRAWN CARRIAGE / UNRWA BOX NEXT TO HER
- Embargoed: 6th June 2019 14:11
- Keywords: Palestinians UNRWA USA Gaza Israel money
- Location: GAZA CITY, GAZA
- City: GAZA CITY, GAZA
- Country: Palestinian Territories
- Topics: Conflicts/War/Peace
- Reuters ID: LVA002AG4FEPZ
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: The head of the United Nations agency that supports Palestinian refugees hit back on Thursday (May 23) at a U.S. proposal to have host countries take over the services it provides across the Middle East.
The suggestion, by U.S. Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt at a U.N. Security Council meeting on Wednesday (May 22), was the latest display of Washington's critical view of the agency that began operations in 1950.
Formerly UNRWA's largest donor, the United States halted its funding to the agency in 2018, deeming its fiscal practices "irredeemably flawed" and heightening tensions between the Palestinians and U.S. President Donald Trump's administration.
"We need to engage with host governments to start a conversation about planning the transition of UNRWA services to host governments, or to other international or local non-governmental organisations, as appropriate," Greenblatt said after the Security Council was briefed by UNRWA chief Pierre Krahenbuhl.
Asked at a Gaza news conference on Thursday about Greenblatt's remarks, Krahenbuhl said UNRWA's mandate "is a matter for the entire (U.N.) General Assembly to consider, and not a question to be addressed by "one or two individual member states".
"Therefore, Palestinian refugees should remember that the mandate is protected by the General Assembly and of course we will engage with member states to ensure what we hope is a safe renewal of that mandate," Krahenbuhl said.
UNRWA's mandate is up for renewal later this year.
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