Turkey condemns US aid cut to UN Palestine agency
Turkish Foreign Ministry on Sept. 1 condemned the U.S. over its decision to end funding for the UN Palestine refugee agency.
"The decision of the United States will affect the lives of over 5 million Palestinians in a negative way. At the same time, this decision will harm the vision of finding a two-state solution to the Palestinian issue; regional peace and stability," the ministry said in a statement.
The statement came a day after U.S. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said Washington "will no longer commit further funding" to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).
The ministry said the U.S. decision was a "major disappointment".
"Under these circumstances, UNRWA's continuing uninterrupted operation has become a legitimacy test and a conscientious task in terms of the international community," it added.
Turkey will discuss the issue in detail during UN General Assembly High Level meeting in New York, on Sept. 27, with the co-chairmanship of Jordan, Japan, Sweden and the EU, and participation of UN Secretary-General and UNRWA General Commissioner.
The ministry said Turkey is determined to continue to make every effort to support UNRWA and is in solidarity with the Palestinian people.
Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) also condmed the U.S. decision.
"Cutting aid to Palestinians is the worst possible decision. It lacks both conscientious and political legitimacy. This is a step to worsen the situation," AKP spokesman Ömer Çelik said on Sept. 1.
The U.S. was by far UNRWA's largest funder, giving $350 million annually, or about one-quarter of the agency's budget.
Established in 1949, UNRWA provides critical aid to more than 5 million Palestinian refugees in the Gaza Strip, the Israeli-occupied West Bank, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria.