The Swiss Times - Swiss News in English

Sweden wants to resume payment to UN Palestinian relief organization

The Swedish government wants to support the UN Palestinian Relief Organization financially again. The government in Stockholm announced on Saturday that it had decided to disburse 200 million crowns (around 17 million Swiss francs). The decision was made in view of the acute humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip and against the background of new agreements.

The UN aid organization UNRWA had come under heavy criticism. Some employees were accused of being involved in the massacre carried out by the Islamist Hamas in Israel on October 7. UN Secretary-General António Guterres had promised a comprehensive investigation into the allegations. Cooperation with several employees was terminated.

Several Western countries temporarily suspended payments to UNRWA because of the allegations, including the two largest donors, the USA and Germany. After Canada, Sweden has now also changed its mind. "The humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip is devastating and the needs are acute," announced the Minister for International Development Cooperation, Johan Forssell.

The aid organization has agreed to strengthen internal supervision, allow an independent audit and enable additional checks on staff, the Swedish government announced. Further payments will be made this year if UNRWA makes progress on the agreed points.

No money from Switzerland

Switzerland, on the other hand, is not currently paying any money to the aid organization after parliament passed a resolution to this effect during the discussion on the federal budget in December.

The amount originally planned was CHF 20 million. A consultation is currently underway in the foreign policy committees and it is planned that the director of the UN organization, Philippe Lazzarini from Neuchâtel, will appear before the National Council committee on 25 March.

©Keystone/SDA

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