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UAE affirms support for Gaza aid agency as many donor countries suspend payments

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UAE affirms support for Gaza aid agency as many donor countries suspend payments

HH Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, discussed the current regional developments and ways to support the UN agency for Palestinian refugees in a phone call with Philippe Lazzarini, the Commissioner-General of UNRWA.

The two sides discussed the need to ensure urgent, intensive, safe and unimpeded delivery of humanitarian, relief and medical aid to the Palestinian people in Gaza, prevent further loss of life, and avoid worsening of the situation, according to the Emirates News Agency.

The top diplomat affirmed the Emirates’ unwavering support for the largest UN agency operating in the besieged Gaza Strip. He stressed that UNRWA’s role is vital in light of the current circumstances facing the millions of people in the enclave.

Sheikh Abdullah urges donors to resume UNRWA funding

The Israel-Hamas war has been raging on since October 7, when Hamas militants launched a surprise attack on southern Israel, killing about 1,300 people. Israel soon launched retaliatory strikes and has claimed at least 26,000 lives to date, as per Gaza’s health ministry.

The call came against a backdrop of increasing controversy over some UNRWA employees’ alleged role in the Hamas attack in October. On Friday, an adviser to the Israeli prime minister told BBC that the incident involved “people who are on their [UNRWA] salaries.”

UN Secretary-General Guterres has said he is “horrified” by the allegations, noting: “Of the 12 people implicated, nine were immediately identified and terminated by [Lazzarini]; one is confirmed dead and the identity of the two others is being clarified.”

During the call, the UAE minister commended the agency’s prompt action to investigate the accusations, stressing the importance of ensuring that this matter does not have negative repercussions on its humanitarian efforts for Palestinians in Gaza.

His Highness also called upon the donor countries that have suspended their funding to UNRWA to reconsider their decisions and continue to provide support to the agency. The US, UK, Japan, Austria, Germany and Italy have announced the suspension of payments.

US says UNRWA must make “fundamental changes”

Speaking to the BBC, UNRWA said it is “extremely desperate” and that the humanitarian needs in Gaza “are growing by the hour”. There is a possibility that the agency might not be able to continue its operations beyond the end of February.

On Tuesday, the US said UNRWA needs to make “fundamental changes” before the country can resume funding, according to Arab News. Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the US ambassador to the UN, said Washington was seeking more detail from Israel about the allegations.

She described “fundamental changes” as looking at the organisation, how it operates in Gaza, how they manage their staff and to ensure the people behind the criminal acts are held accountable immediately so that the agency can continue its essential operations.

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Ramez covers the News and Reports sections on The Gulf Independent. He holds a notable experience spanning more than six years, delivering timely and informative content on noteworthy developments in the vast Gulf region.  Interest:  Ramez is your dependable compass for the freshest, unbiased and elaborate coverage of the Middle East and Gulf regional news and events. He believes in the power of giving each story a unique perspective, subsequently inspiring conversation and promoting transparency.  Education and Experience:  Armed with a promising degree in Journalism and Digital Media from the prestigious American University of Sharjah in the UAE, Ramez has been helping audiences get a better understanding of the region's sensitive issues and massive potential. Email Id: