Iraq pledges US$25 million to UNRWA for Palestinian refugees

At least 180 UNRWA staff have been killed since the start of Israel’s war in Gaza. [Getty]

In the face of Israel’s ongoing attacks on Rafah and on UNRWA, Iraq has pledged US$25 million to support Palestinian refugees through the agency.

The Iraqi Ministry of Foreign Affairs made the announcement on Tuesday, stating that the country will contribute US$25 million to UNRWA.

Omar Al-Barzanji, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Iraq, expressed condolences to the victims of the Israeli invasion of Rafah during a joint press conference with the Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations and Commissioner-General of UNRWA, Philippe Lazzarini, who paid an official visit to Baghdad. Al-Barzanji also condemned the Israeli incursion into Rafah.

He also expressed Iraq’s concern about the severe funding shortage faced by UNRWA and its inability to assist Palestinian refugees, reaffirming Iraq’s rejection of the restrictive policies imposed on UNRWA and calling for increased support for the agency. 

Additionally, he denounced the Israeli occupation’s measures restricting the agency’s work, announcing Iraq’s contribution of US$25 million to UNRWA, as reported by local Iraqi media outlets.

The announcement comes hours after Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia’ Al-Sudani met with the UN delegation visiting Iraq.

According to the official Iraqi news agency, Al-Sudani received Lazzarini and his accompanying delegation. During the meeting, efforts by the agency to assist Palestinians suffering under the brutal bombardment by Israeli forces were reviewed, despite attacks on UNRWA premises and the killing of a large number of its workers by Israel. 

Sudani, according to the statement, praised the “courageous positions” of UN Secretary-General António Guterres regarding the heinous aggression against the Palestinian people. He expressed condolences to those who fell victim to the aggressive bombing of relief workers at the agency, emphasising that targeting UNRWA headquarters in Gaza is part of Israel’s genocidal war against Palestinians.

He pointed out that the world is facing a new humanitarian disaster in Rafah due to the obstinacy of the occupation and its insistence on killing more civilians.

Al-Sudani reiterated Iraq’s steadfast and principled position on the Palestinian cause, stating that the suffering of Palestinians would increase with the targeting of Rafah, where they no longer have a safe haven.

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