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Canada to resume funding UN agency for Palestinians

Canada announced it will resume funding for the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, more than a month after suspending it in line with about 15 other countries.

UNRWA has been at the centre of controversy since Israel accused 12 of its employees in January of involvement in the 7 October attack carried out by the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas.

“I’m announcing that Canada’s funding for UNRWA will resume,” Minister of International Development Ahmed Hussen told reporters.

“We’re resuming funding to UNRWA because of the dire humanitarian situation on the ground,” he explained, noting that Canada was the first G7 nation to resume funding.

About 15 countries, including the United States, Britain, Germany and Japan, suspended funding to UNRWA at the end of January.

The moves slashed the agency’s funds by $450 million (€411 million), more than half of the funds it had received in 2023.

After the accusations, the UN fired the accused employees who were still alive and launched an internal investigation.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also tasked an independent group with evaluating UNRWA and its neutrality.

Canada has reviewed the investigation’s interim report and “were reassured by the contents,” Mr Hussen said.

He also announced that Ottawa will partner with Jordan and the World Food Programme to conduct airdrops in Gaza to deliver desperately needed food and other essentials.

“We’re looking at a serious risk of mass starvation in parts of Gaza, particularly in the north,” he warned.

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