PA: 40 percent of new international aid to be spent in Hamas-run Gaza Strip
PA minister says $7.7 billion raised at Paris donor conference, 300 million more than initially reported.
The Palestinian Authority intends to spend 40 percent of recently-pledged international aid in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Stip, a PA minister said Thursday.
Donors met in Paris last month as part of a U.S.-led campaign to restart peace talks between Abbas and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. Those talks got under way this week despite public skepticism about the chances of a deal.
According to Samir Abdallah, who serves as planning and labor minister in Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' government, international donors have pledged $7.7 billion in aid to the Palestinians over the next three years, more than initially reported.
Officials at the conference initially estimated that pledges totaled $7.4 billion but a subsequent audit showed another $300 million was pledged, Abdallah said.
The European Union, Saudi Arabia and France have started providing funds.
Under the Palestinian plan, $1.7 billion will be used to fund development projects, he said.
The Palestinians themselves had initially requested $5.6 billion.
Over 90 countries and international organizations attended the international donors' conference in Paris in December. The one-day meeting was an economic and political show of support for Abbas and for the post-Annapolis rejuvenated peace process.