Arab foreign ministers voice continued support for UNRWA

CAIRO (AP) — Arab foreign ministers meeting in Egypt have rallied behind the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees, or UNRWA, after the United States ended decades of funding for the organization.

The ministers also said Tuesday they regretted Washington's decision to suspend funding and warned of the humanitarian consequences for five million refugees assisted by the agency.

UNRWA was established after the war surrounding Israel's establishment in 1948 to aid the 700,000 Palestinians who fled or were forced from their homes. Today, it provides education, health care and social services to some 5 million Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, as well as Jordan, Syria and Lebanon. The agency is also a major employer in the Palestinian areas.

The U.S. on Aug. 31 cut roughly $300 million in assistance for UNRWA.