Administration

Pence says US to stop funding 'ineffective' UN relief efforts

Vice President Pence on Wednesday said that President Trump has instructed the State Department to stop funding certain "ineffective" United Nations relief efforts and to instead provide humanitarian assistance directly through USAID and "faith-based groups."

In a speech at the In Defense of Christians annual Solidarity Dinner for Christians in the Middle East, Pence excoriated the U.N., saying the international body has "often failed to help the most vulnerable communities especially religious minorities."

"We will no longer rely on the United Nations alone to assist persecuted Christians and minorities in the wake of genocide and the atrocities of terrorist groups," Pence said to applause.

"The United States will work hand in hand from this day forward with faith-based groups and private orgs to help those who are persecuted for their faith. This is the moment, now is the time, and America will support these people in their hour of need."

He did not specify what U.N. programs or initiatives the U.S. will no longer fund.

Those faith-based groups, Pence said, have repeatedly had funding requests denied by the U.N., despite "proven track records."

"Those days are over," Pence said. "Our fellow Christians and all who are persecuted in the Middle East should not have to rely on multinational institutions when America can help them directly."

In his address, Pence painted a dire picture of Christianity in the Middle East, arguing that groups like the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria have singled them out for particularly brutal persecution. The religion, he said, is on the verge of extinction in some areas of the region.

Pence said that driving that persecution is "radical Islamic terrorists."

"Let me assure you tonight, President Trump and I see these crimes for what they are: vile acts of persecution animated by hatred for Christians in the gospel of Christ," he said. "And so too does this president know who and what has perpetrated these crimes and he calls them by name: radical Islamic terrorists."

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