International donors are ready to support the creation of a new Palestinian state, representatives of the US, European Union and Norway announced Jan. 12 in a fresh bid to facilitate the re-start of peace talks in the Middle East. "We enter 2010 ready and able to support the Palestinian budget by Prime Minister (of the Palestinian Authority, Salam) Fayyad", said Norway's foreign minister, Jonas Gahr Stoere. The EU's foreign policy supremo, Catherine Ashton, said the bloc will "front-load" its aid to the Palestinians for 2010, paying the bulk of its support sooner rather than later. "It is extremely important," commented Stoere, assuring that Norway will also make available its entire annual aid "in the coming weeks." French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner added that "if the political situation allows it," donors are ready to "start another chapter of the Paris Conference," which in December 2007 pledged USD 7.4 billion for the Palestinians. (DPA)

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