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Russia Refuses to Contribute to Unrwa, Blames Israel for Refugee Plight

The Soviet Union, which has never contributed to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees, informed Secretary-General U Thant today that it saw “no need” to send aid through that agency and would provide assistance to the Arab peoples “through appropriate channels.”

Ambassador Nikolai T. Fedorenko told the Secretary-General in a letter that the Soviet Union “is providing substantial assistance to the Arab countries with a view to eliminating the consequences of aggression committed by Israel.” The Soviet Government and welfare agencies, he asserted, were providing aid to Egypt, Syria and Jordan which “have endured suffering as a result of the criminal actions of Israel’s armed forces.”

The Soviet envoy said aid by other countries “is. of course welcome,” but he asserted that “the question of eliminating the consequences of Israel’s aggression cannot be in any sense reduced to a simple matter of charity.” He repeated Soviet demands that Israel unconditionally withdraw its forces from Arab territories, pay compensation to the Arabs and stand condemned as an aggressor.

He charged that the Arab refugee problem “is obviously not the result of natural disaster of some sort but a direct consequence of Israel’s unceasing aggressive actions against the Arab states.” The problem still existed, he said, because of Israeli aggression and unwillingness to obey the General Assembly’s 1948 resolution on the return of the refugees to their former homes or the payment of compensation. This attitude of Israel’s, the Russian said, prevented “a truly effective drastic solution of the refugee problem in the Middle East.”

All the members of the United Nations had been asked to make special contributions this year to UNRWA in view of the extent of the refugee problem. The Fedorenko letter was the Soviet reply to that appeal.

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