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Jordan warns of ‘dangerous consequences’ after Palestinian refugee agency gets US funding cut

Jordan warns of ‘dangerous consequences’ after Palestinian refugee agency gets US funding cut
Jordan’s foreign minister has warned of "dangerous consequences to regional stability" if the Palestinian refugee agency UNRWA cannot provide services to refugees, saying he regrets the US decision to cut aid to the agency.

Speaking to Reuters on Saturday, Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said that Amman regrets Washington's decision to cut funding for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), a decision that was announced by the US State Department on Friday. The move represents a major hit for the agency, as the US had long been its biggest donor.

Safadi added that jeopardizing the fate of the organization, which helps millions of refugees, will only fuel radicalism and harm prospects of Middle East peace.

The foreign minister also said that his country – which hosts over two million registered refugees – will continue to rally for donor support to help ease the financial strain that the agency is currently facing.

When announcing Washington's decision to cease funding for the agency, the State Department called it an "irredeemably flawed operation," stressing that the US would no longer "shoulder the very disproportionate share of the burden of UNRWA's costs."

Responding to the announcement, UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness said the agency is disappointed by the move, calling it "all the more surprising given that UNRWA and the United States renewed a funding agreement in December 2017."

The move was slammed by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas as a "flagrant assault against the Palestinian people," while some Israeli officials hailed the move.

"I praise the decision of the president of the United States to halt all funding of UNRWA – the body that enshrines the Palestinian refugee problem," Israeli Intelligence Minister Israel Katz wrote on Twitter. 

UNRWA, which began operations in 1950, assists some five million Palestinian refugees, according to its website.

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