EU clears 50-mn-euro payment to UNRWA


The European Commission announced Friday it was clearing a 50-million-euro ($54 million) payment to the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees UNRWA, which was under review following Israeli claims its staff participated in Hamas's October 7 attack.

Commission spokesman Eric Mamer told reporters the funds would be released "early next week" after UNRWA agreed to a "series of conditions" including an EU-led audit, with a further 32 million euros to follow later.

The Commission also decided Friday to allocate an additional 68-million-euro to support the Palestinian population across the region to be implemented through international partners like the Red Cross and the Red Crescent.

"The Commission will proceed to paying 50-million-euro of the UNRWA envelope next week," the European Commission said, adding that UNRWA has indicated that it stands ready to ensure that a review of its staff is carried out to confirm they did not participate in the October 7 attacks and that further controls are put in place to mitigate such risks in the future.

"UNRWA has agreed to the launch of an audit of the Agency to be conducted by EU appointed external experts. This audit will review the control systems to prevent the possible involvement of its staff and assets in terrorist activities," the Commission said in a statement.

"On this basis, and following the exchange of letters with UNRWA confirming its commitments, the Commission will proceed disburse a first tranche of 50-million-euro out of the 82-million-euro foreseen for UNRWA for 2024," the statement said.

The Commission said that it will allocate an additional 68-million-euro for in 2024, as it "remains fully committed to addressing the humanitarian plight of the Palestinian people, particularly in Gaza but also more widely in the region."

"We stand by the Palestinian people in Gaza and elsewhere in the region. Innocent Palestinians should not have to pay the price for the crimes of terrorist group Hamas. They face terrible conditions putting their lives at risk because of lack of access to sufficient food and other basic needs. That is why we are reinforcing our support to them this year by a further 68-million-euro,” the Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said.

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