Foreign Minister Heiko Maas issued the following statement today (7 April) following the US announcement that it will resume its support for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA):
I welcome the announcement by the US Administration that it will resume its support for UNRWA. In my opinion, this sends the right signal: we will not abandon the people in the region. UNRWA’s work in the Near East has a stabilising influence and is absolutely essential ‑ because it achieves visible progress in practical fields such as healthcare, and because it improves the people’s perspectives and gives them real options for the future. It is for precisely this reason that Germany has for years actively supported UNRWA. Since the challenges have become even bigger due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the US Administration’s announcement comes at the right time for the people affected in the region. I hope that other countries will follow suit and support UNRWA again, so that this agency can perform its important tasks.
The previous US administration stopped funding UNRWA in 2018. Thereupon Germany and the EU substantially increased their support in order to prevent the agency’s work from being jeopardised. Since 2018, Germany has been UNRWA’s largest donor. In 2020 alone, the German Government made available 180 million euro from Federal Foreign Office funds and from the budget of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), earmarked in particular for food assistance and for measures to combat COVID-19, as well as for infrastructure, employment promotion and education and healthcare measures.