UN retracts statement saying Canada will resume funding for Palestinian relief agency

The United Nations and Canadian government spokespeople are backpedalling after the UN erroneously sent out a statement saying Canada would resume funding for a UN relief agency that aids Palestinian refugees.

Canada discontinued funding for the agency in 2010

​UN spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric corrects a statement about what Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon discussed about UNRWA 0:31

The United Nations made an about-face after it said Canada would resume funding for a UN relief agency that aids Palestinian refugees, saying the statement was made in error.

The release was sent to reporters Wednesday afternoon summing up a meeting between Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in New York. It initially said Canada would resume contributions to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).

Canada discontinued funding for the agency in 2010 under Conservative leader Stephen Harper.

Several hours later, the UN re-issued the statement, but removed the sentences that referred to the relief agency funding.

Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met with United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Wednesday in New York. (Chris Wattie/Reuters)

Louis Bélanger, communications director for International Development Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau, told CBC News on Thursday that UN officials did express a desire to see Canada resume funding.

And while the Canadian government is considering the request, according to Bibeau's spokesperson, no decision has been made yet.

Bélanger said the UN gave out an incorrect account of the meeting and it's their mistake to explain.

UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said late Wednesday that the initial statement was an early draft sent by mistake "that did not properly reflect" the discussion between Trudeau and Ban.

Today, he explained the error in more detail and apologized.

"The first version of the readout was issued by mistake. It was only a draft and the earlier draft did not properly reflect the actual discussions between the prime minister and the secretary general," he said. "We apologize for any confusion that may have caused."

with files from CBC News

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