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Canada’s future funding for UN relief organization in Gaza Strip still in limbo

OTTAWA — Canada hasn’t made a final decision on whether to resume funding to the UN aid organization in Gaza when its next scheduled payment is due in April.

A senior government source, speaking on condition of anonymity, says discussions continue on the decision, including with other countries that also paused funding to the organization earlier this winter.

More than a dozen countries paused donations to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in January after Israel alleged some of its workers workers participated in the Oct. 7 Hamas terrorist attack.

International Development Minister Ahmed Hussen said last week Canada was still working with the UN and its allies to ensure a fulsome investigation of the allegations against UNRWA staff.

His office muddied the waters by scheduling a press conference this morning so Hussen could provide an update on the aid situation in Gaza, then cancelling it about 90 minutes before it was to begin.

A spokeswoman for Hussen would only say it was cancelled for “logistical” reasons.

Canada’s next scheduled payment to UNRWA isn’t until April and it has not missed a payment during the so-called pause.

“We have been working with our UN partners as well as donor countries that paused funding like Canada to ensure that we have a transparent, comprehensive investigation,” Hussen said in Ottawa on Feb. 28.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 6, 2024.

The Canadian Press

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