Donor conference in Cairo once lasting Gaza truce: Norway
Oslo: International donors will meet in Cairo to pledge funds for the reconstruction of Gaza as soon as a lasting ceasefire is reached between Israel and the Palestinians, Norway announced today.
The funds raised under the aegis of Egypt and Norway will be released to Palestinian Authority president Mahmud Abbas, said Norwegian Foreign Minister Boerge Brende, whose country heads the international coordination committee for aid to the Palestinians.
The Gaza Strip has been ravaged by more than a month of fighting that left 1,980 Palestinians dead and caused several billion dollars worth of damage in the territory.
The statement came as crucial ceasefire talks were under way in Cairo and the clock ticked down to a midnight (2100 GMT) deadline ending a five-day truce to enable negotiators to broker a long-term end to the bloodshed.
Norway noted that it was the third time in a few years that international donors will have been called on to finance Gaza reconstruction, and demanded new conditions.
"We cannot expect the international community to finance reconstruction once again without prior conditions," Brende said in a statement.
In particular, he called for an end to the eight-year-old Israeli blockade of Gaza and for security guarantees for civilians on both sides of the border.
"Keeping people hemmed in and on the brink of famine will not guarantee the security of Gaza`s neighbours," he said.
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