De Croo confirms Belgium's continued UNRWA support
Belgian prime minister Alexander De Croo has confirmed Belgium's stance on continued support for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA). He relayed this message in a telephone conversation with Sigrid Kaag, the UN humanitarian and reconstruction coordinator for Gaza.
Following the phone call, Kraag said that De Croo "certainly does not want to take away much-needed support from people without roofs over their heads, children without educational opportunities and families in famine".
De Croo has urged Kaag for a "thorough, rapid and independent investigation" into allegations about UNRWA staff having been involved in the 7 October terror attack. "If offences were committed, then those involved should be prosecuted," he said.
Belgium has no planned payments to UNRWA in the coming weeks. "We are looking forward to the results of the investigation. As a function of that investigation, the government will evaluate its position," De Croo said.
Several countries, including the US, UK, Germany, Canada and Japan, have already announced the suspension of their funding to UNRWA. The agency has been coordinating aid, education and healthcare to Palestinians for decades, including in the Gaza Strip and in Palestinian refugee camps in the region. According to Israel, at least 12 of its 30,000 regional staff were involved in the Hamas terror in Israel on 7 October.
Belgian prime minister Alexander De Croo © BELGA PHOTO BENOIT DOPPAGNE