Waldhsim Warns Unrwa Faces Worst Fiscal Crisis Imperiling Mideast

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) is facing the worst financial crisis in its 25-year history, UN Secretary General Kurt Waldheim said yesterday. He warned that the failure to provide funds for UNRWA could add a new element of instability to the already tense Middle East situation.

UNRWA’s deficit is expected to reach $30 million out of a 1975 budget of $125 million, Waldheim said that unless additional contributions come in there would be an almost virtual elimination of UNRWA school education programs, UNRWA is financed by voluntary contributions from governments. The main contributors in 1974 were the United States with $28 million and the European Common Market countries with $24 million. Contributions from the Arab countries have been marginal with oil-rich Saudi Arabia providing only $1 million.

Israel contributed last year the equivalent of $1.2 million in services, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency was told today by UNRWA’s office here. Syria contributed $100,000 in services. Lebanon $70,000 and Jordan $250,000, Egypt contributed $5000 in cash.

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