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EU prepares 34m Euros Palestinian aid deal


May 25, 2006

By Michelle Fitzpatrick

Following a proposal by Louis Michel, the commissioner for development and humanitarian aid, the EU council has given a green light to the financial contribution, which is to help fend off a humanitarian disaster in the Palestinian territories.

The Palestinian Authority has been struggling with an economic crisis since the election of the Islamist militant Hamas government in February led to a freeze of international aid.

Brussels is currently working out a mechanism to allow much-need aid funding to reach the Palestinians while bypassing the Hamas government.

The EU's 34m Euros are to be used by UNRWA, WFP, Unicef and other UN agencies to cover the most urgent needs of the Palestinians for food, health service, water and sanitation, temporary jobs and protection.

Commissioner Michel said: "I am deeply worried about the deterioration of the humanitarian crisis in the Palestinian territories.

"Our humanitarian partners face increasing needs and this decision intends to reinforce our support.

"But," he warned, "they should not be considered in any case as a substitute to the Palestinian Authority."

The commission will officially adopt the aid proposal after approval by the European Parliament in mid-June.

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