SYRIA STABILIZATION Citing more allied cash, US ends some funding


Associated Press

WASHINGTON

The Trump administration is ending funding for Syria stabilization projects as it moves to extricate the U.S. from the conflict, citing increased contributions from anti-Islamic State coalition partners.

The State Department said it had notified Congress on Friday that it would not spend some $230 million that had been planned for Syria programs and would instead shift that money to other areas. Most of that money, initially pledged by former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in February, had been on hold and under review since he was fired in March. A small fraction of that amount was released in June.

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said the cut, which was authorized by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and does not include humanitarian aid funds, will be more than offset by an additional $300 million pledged by coalition partners, including $100 million that Saudi Arabia announced it had contributed late Thursday.

Nauert said Pompeo’s decision took into account the White House’s desire to increase burden sharing with allies.

The funds will be redirected “to support other key foreign policy priorities,” said Nauert, who along with other officials rejected suggestions that the elimination of the funds showed diminishing U.S. interest in Syria.

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