Official: US withholds $65M from Palestinian aid programs

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Official: US withholds $65M from Palestinian aid programs
Official: US withholds $65M from Palestinian aid programs

WASHINGTON (AP) – A U.S. official says the Trump administration is cutting tens of millions of dollars in funding for the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees, slashing this year’s first contribution by more than half.

The official says the U.S. is making additional donations contingent on major changes to the organization.

The official said the U.N. Relief and Works Agency was notified Tuesday the U.S. is withholding $65 million of the planned $125 million installment.

The U.S. is UNWRA’s largest donor, supplying nearly 30 percent of the budget. The agency focuses on providing health care, education and social services to Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon.

The official wasn’t authorized to speak publicly about the U.S. letter to UNRWA and demanded anonymity.

FILE – In this Jan. 10, 2018, file photo, President Donald Trump speaks during a news conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington. The Trump administration is preparing to withhold tens of millions of dollars from the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees, cutting the year’s first contribution by more than half or perhaps entirely, and making additional donations contingent on major changes to the organization, according to U.S. officials. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, speaks during a meeting with the Palestinian Central Council, a top decision-making body, at his headquarters in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Sunday, Jan. 14, 2018. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed,l)
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