Hillary announces $150 mn aid to Palestine

The US aid will help Palestinians reduce their budget deficit.

Washington: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Wednesday announced a new USD 150 million assistance to the Palestine Authority to help Palestinians reduce their budget deficit.

"This new funding will help the Palestinian Authority pay down its debt, continue to deliver services and security to its people, and keep the progress going," Hillary said at a news conference held at the Foggy Bottom headquarters of the State Department.

"It will support our work together to expand Palestinians` access to schools, clinics, and clean drinking water in both the West Bank and Gaza. And it will allow Prime Minister Fayyad`s government to build and modernise courthouses and police stations, train judges and prosecutors, and launch new economic development initiatives," she said.

This brings our direct budget assistance to a total of USD 225 million for the year and our overall support and investment to nearly USD 600 million this year.

"This figure underscores the strong determination of the American people and this Administration to stand with our Palestinian friends even during difficult economic times, as we have here at home," she said.

Hillary said strict safeguards are in place to ensure the money will be used responsibly.

The United States, the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund all carefully monitor the use of donor funds and we have great confidence in the Palestine Authority and his ability to provide accountability and transparency.

She also praised the efforts of other countries in this regard.

"Saudi Arabia recently transferred an additional USD 100 million. The United Arab Emirates provided a funding infusion in September and the European Union also announced major new funding," she said addressing the joint news conference with the Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.

"We really appreciate this assistance because it is highly responsive to our needs in two ways," Fayyad said.

"First, in terms of the type of assistance, it being of the form of budget support is the kind of assistance that we need the most, as it helps us deal with the needs that we have to deal with and actually meet the duties, obligations, the responsibilities that we have to discharge in the course of doing the best we can in the interest of bringing about better life for our people. It also is highly responsive to our needs in the sense of its timeliness," he said.


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