U.N. Chief Faced Funding Cut-off and Fatwa Risk—On Thursday, Mr. Ban told reporters that he had been threatened with the loss of financing for humanitarian operations in the Palestinian territories, South Sudan and Syria if he did not temporarily delete the Saudi-led coalition from the list. Mr. Ban offered his explanation Thursday, saying, “I also had to consider the very real prospect that millions of other children would suffer grievously if, as was suggested to me, countries would defund many U.N. programs.” Sources said that there was also a threat of "clerics in Riyadh meeting to issue a fatwa against the U.N., declaring it anti-Muslim, which would mean no contacts of OIC members, no relations, contributions, support, to any U.N. projects, programs." Responding to the allegations, Saudi U.N. Ambassador Abdallah AlMouallimi said "we don't use threats or intimidation," and Riyadh was "very committed to the United Nations." Mouallimi denied any threat of a possible fatwa. “That’s ridiculous, that’s outrageous,” he said, adding that the meeting of Saudi clerics was to approve and issue a statement condemning the blacklisting of the coalition. In a related note, the French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault called Friday for calm to resolve an angry row between Saudi Arabia and the United Nations over the blacklisting of the Saudi-led coalition bombing Yemen.