ANGUS Robertson has urged the UK Government to resume funding for the UN agency which provides humanitarian aid in Gaza.

The Scottish Government’s External Affairs Secretary has written to Andrew Mitchell, the minister for development, warning that people in Gaza are starving as supplies are not reaching them.

Funding for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) was suspended by the UK Government following allegations that some of its staff were involved in the Hamas attacks on Israel on October 7.

In his letter to the minister, Robertson said: “UNRWA remains the only organisation with the capacity to distribute (aid) at the scale required throughout the territory.”

The letter demanded a review of the ban because of the “dependence on UNRWA of 2.2 million people in Gaza, including children who are now dying of starvation, dehydration and infectious disease”.

Robertson called on the UK Government to follow the example of the European Commission and resume payments to UNRWA.

The commission said, on March, that the EU will pay 50 million euros (£42.6 million) to UNRWA and increase emergency payments to 68 million euros (£58 million), “based on the swift action taken by UNRWA to immediately dismiss the implicated staff members and to launch an independent investigation”.

Scottish Government payments to UNRWA came under scrutiny at the weekend amid claims that First Minister Humza Yousaf overruled advisers to pay £250,000 to UNRWA while his in-laws were trapped in Gaza.

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Yousaf condemned the story as “Islamophobic”, and the SNP depute leader, Keith Brown, demanded that Scottish Tory MSP Stephen Kerr be banned from standing for Westminster as a result.

Kerr branded the payments “a conflict of interest”, while Brown called for an end to “hatred and division” in an interview with the BBC.

In his letter to Mitchell, Robertson said: “I share the concerns about the serious allegations that a number of UNRWA staff were involved in the abhorrent attacks of October 7 on Israel.

“However, I have been reassured that UNRWA is taking the necessary action to investigate these allegations and to mitigate against such risks in the future.

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“UNRWA has provided additional assurances that it will facilitate a further review and audit by EU appointed external experts and that it will strengthen its department of internal investigations and the governance surrounding it.

“It is imperative to the survival of the agency and the irreplaceable function that it provides, that this commitment is fulfilled and that UNRWA has the necessary predictability of funding for the next financial year.”

And he added: “I also ask you to use your influence to ensure that the barriers to aid getting into and distributed throughout Gaza, which are being imposed in contravention of international law, are removed.”