Palestinian FM makes $1.3B aid appeal

Palestinian Finance Minister Salam Fayyad has announced his government’s need for over $1.3 billion in foreign aid this year. “We are looking for external support to bridge a gap of nearly EUR1 billion ($1.34 billion) for 2007,” said Fayyad. He warned of a “devastating” humanitarian crisis should donors fail to respond, adding that the Palestinian Authority currently relies on only a quarter of the necessary funds to provide vital services. The European Union, the biggest donor to the Palestinians, gave EUR700 million ($942.5 million) in aid last year and has expressed selective and gradual support to Fayyad. “I’ve made very clear that possible financial engagement would not mean resuming direct financial assistance overnight,” said External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner. “The E.U. will also need time to come to a decision then on this political issue”, she added. (Source: Palestinian minister seeks $1.3 billion in aid/Reuters)

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