27 JANUARY 2021

The following is a near-verbatim transcript of today’s noon briefing by Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesman for the Secretary-General.

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Question:  And another question.  I’ll give you two questions but… because you might want to link them together, one, the US saying it is going to start funding UNRWA [United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East] again and then a hint from the new US Ambassador‑designate in her confirmation hearing that they may well stop… restart funding to UNFPA [United Nations Population Fund].  So, your reaction to those bits of news?

Spokesman:  I mean, I watched part of the confirmation hearings.  I mean, all of it, if confirmed, is, obviously, welcome news, and for us, going in the right direction.  We know the impact that the cutting of US funding had on UNRWA, and we also know the impact it had on UNFPA.  Okay.  If you have a question before we go to Mr. Steiner, wave your hands up in the air, like Toby and then Erol.  Go ahead, Toby.

Question:  Hi, thanks, Stéphane.  I just want to follow up on James’ question about UNRWA.  So, you’re still waiting for the US to reach out and confirm any actions related to UNRWA?  That’s my first question.

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Spokesman:  I’m sorry.  I had too many things going on at once here.  On UNRWA, I mean, we also heard very positive statements from the US representative in the Security Council.  Yesterday, we heard what the Permanent Representative‑designate had to say.  We’ll check with UNRWA if anything officially has happened, but, obviously, the messages that are in the air are indeed very positive.

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For information media. Not an official record.