VIDEO: Spain to continue funding UNRWA, closely monitoring internal probe


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The Minister of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation, José Manuel Albares, addressed the Congress of Deputies in Madrid on December 20, 2023. During the session, the President of the Government answered questions from the leader of the PP and the spokesperson for Vox. The topics discussed included the motion of censure in Pamplona and the rise in mortgages. This was the second session of control of the Government in Congress of this legislature, and the first to which the President of the Government attended.

During the session, Feijóo agreed to hold a meeting with the President of the Government on December 22. He sent a letter with an agenda that included the law of amnesty, measures to guarantee judicial independence, and the motion of censure in Pamplona.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation, José Manuel Albares, announced that Spain will maintain financing for the UN Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA), despite the agency being under scrutiny after some of its workers participated in a Hamas terrorist attack against Israel. Albares emphasized that Spain will not modify its relationship with UNRWA, despite closely monitoring the internal investigation and the results it may yield due to the actions of a dozen of the around 30,000 people who work for this UN agency.

The Government made voluntary contributions to UNRWA worth €18.5 million in 2023, including €10 million approved last December, following the decision to triple cooperation and humanitarian aid to Palestine. This was stated during Albares’ appearance before the Foreign Commission of the Congress of Deputies, after the UNRWA announced the expulsion and the opening of an immediate investigation of several members of the organization for their alleged participation in the terrorist attack of Hamas against Israel on October 7.

The United States announced that it was suspending funding to this UN agency, a step that other countries such as the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and Japan also took over the weekend. Within the EU, there has been division between partners. Countries such as Italy, the Netherlands, and Germany have announced that they will not contribute more funds to UNRWA, while France has said that it will not do so for the moment, although it did not plan any disbursement soon. In contrast, Ireland has made it clear that it has no intention of stopping funding this UN agency.

In Spain, government partners have defended that UNRWA funding not be interrupted. In Sumar’s opinion, the decision to “cut off financing” by some countries constitutes “an attack against humanity.” “In the face of this collective punishment,” those of Yolanda Díaz have made it clear on X, former Twitter, that they will pressure “for our country to increase its contribution to an essential organization for the Palestinian people.” The leader of Podemos, Ione Belarra, has spoken along the same lines. In her opinion, the decision of the United States and several European countries “is an intolerable punishment at a time of maximum humanitarian fragility in Gaza.” “We cannot remain impassive in the face of this atrocity,” she has defended on the aforementioned social network, claiming that Spain “must be an example and must increase these funds.”

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