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July 27, 09

NEWS / United States Transfers $200 Million to Palestinian Authority

By Merle David Kellerhals Jr.
Staff Writer

Washington — The United States is transferring $200 million to the Palestinian Authority to help support its budget needs, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton says.

“I wanted personally to announce the delivery of budget support to the Palestinian Authority, under the leadership of President [Mahmoud] Abbas and Prime Minister [Salam] Fayyad, because of what is at stake for the Palestinian people, for the future of a Palestinian state, for the future security of Israel and for the region is so critical,” Clinton said.

“This transfer fulfills a critical portion of the assistance package that I announced in March in Sharm el-Sheikh [Egypt],” Clinton said at a July 24 press conference with Fayyad. Clinton spoke to reporters from the State Department’s briefing center in Washington and Fayyad spoke by video-conference from his offices in Ramallah.

The money is part of a $900 million pledge Clinton made at a March 2 donors conference to address the immediate needs of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

In addition to donor assistance, the Palestinian Authority has sought funding from private banks and the International Monetary Fund. The Palestinian Authority governs the West Bank territories, but the terrorist group Hamas currently controls the Gaza Strip.

The United States is the leading provider of economic and development assistance to the Palestinians, providing an estimated $2.5 billion through the U.S. Agency for International Development since 1993.

“It’s our hope that the support of the United States and other nations will help foster conditions in which a Palestinian state can be fully realized,” Clinton said.

The Palestinian Authority has been creating fundamental reforms to ensure that donor funds are handled openly and are accountable, the secretary added.

Clinton, who just returned from a diplomatic mission to India and Thailand, also said the U.S. special envoy for Middle East peace, George Mitchell, will be back in the region this weekend. He will arrive in Israel on July 26 from Syria and then go to the Palestinian Territories. He is trying to restart the stalled Middle East peace talks that had resumed at the November 2007 Annapolis Conference.

“I believe we are making progress in our effort to create the environment for a successful resumption of negotiations in the near future,” she said. “The point of our engagement is to help the parties make the decisions that are in their best interest.”

Tags: secretary of state,


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