Italy to resume funding for UN agency for Palestinian refugees

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Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani on Saturday announced Rome would restore funding for the UN agency for Palestinian refugees as he met with Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Mustafa.

“Italy has decided to resume financing specific projects intended for assistance to Palestinian refugees, but only after rigorous controls that guarantee that not even a penny risks ending up supporting terrorism,” he said.

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Tajani said he had informed the visiting premier “that the government has arranged new funding for the Palestini-an population, for a total of 35 million euros”.

“Of this, five million will be allocated to UNRWA,” he said in a statement, with the remaining 30 million euros allocated to Italy’s “Food for Gaza” initiative in coordination with UN aid agencies.

UNRWA, which coordinates nearly all aid to Gaza, has been in crisis since January, when Israel accused about a dozen of its 13,000 Gaza employees of being involved in the October attack on Israel by Hamas.

That led many nations, including top donor the United States, to abruptly suspend funding to the agency, threat-ening its efforts to deliver aid in Gaza, although several have since resumed payments.

An independent review of UNRWA, led by French former foreign minister Catherine Colonna, found some “neu-trality-related issues” but said Israel had yet to provide evidence for its leading allegations.

Created in 1949, the agency employs around 30,000 people in the Palestinian territories, Jordan, Lebanon and Syr-ia.

Mustafa was later due to meet with Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni.

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