Politics, World, Middle East

Saudi Arabia rejects changes to J'lem's legal status

Saudi foreign minister makes assertion at Arab FMs' meeting in Cairo

Saudi Arabia rejects changes to J'lem's legal status


Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir on Tuesday expressed his country’s rejection of any change to Jerusalem’s historical status while also voicing support for UNRWA, the UN’s embattled Palestinian refugee agency.

Addressing Arab foreign ministers at the Cairo-based Arab League, al-Jubeir said that the Palestinian cause remained at the top of the kingdom’s priorities.

Echoing a common refrain, al-Jubeir also criticized Iranian “interference” in the region, especially in Yemen, which he described as “the worst form of terrorism”.

The Saudi FM went on to stress his country’s ongoing support for UNRWA, along with international efforts to save the agency from chronic funding shortfalls.

On August 31, Washington cut all its funding for UNRWA as part of a broader policy by the U.S. administration of limiting aid to Palestinian institutions.

The U.S. had been UNRWA's largest contributor by far, providing it with $350 million annually -- roughly one quarter of the agency's overall budget.

Established in 1949, UNRWA provides critical aid to Palestinian refugees in the blockaded Gaza Strip, the Israeli-occupied West Bank, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria.

Later this month, donor countries plan to meet in New York to discuss the cash-strapped agency’s future.

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