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€250 million support to the Palestinians in 2005

Commissioner Ferrero-Waldner announces €250 million support to the Palestinians in 2005

Following her visit to the Middle East 6-8 February, and the Ceasefire Declaration made by the Israelis and Palestinians at Sharm el Sheikh, the Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy Benita Ferrero-Waldner has announced the European Commission expects to make around €250 million available in 2005 to support further steps towards the creation of a viable Palestinian state. Part of this allocation may used to help rebuild shattered infrastructure.

Commissioner Ferrero-Waldner said: “We will continue to be a major provider of political and financial support to the peace process. It is essential that the Palestinian people see a concrete dividend of moves towards peace, and we will make funds available to help President Abbas deliver tangible improvements in his people’s living conditions. We will also support the reforms and institution building necessary to build up the Palestinians’ government capacity, and support the reconstruction of infrastructure and basic services”.

Commissioner Ferrero-Waldner discussed with Israeli and Palestinian partners during her Middle East trip future European assistance, stressing that the EU can only help if the conditions are in place for such help to be sustainable. She underlined the importance of access for aid workers and freedom of movement for Palestinian persons and goods to help relaunch the Palestinian economy.

The funding will now be programmed in the light of the Commissioner’s discussions in the region. The package will include:

• Support for political and financial reform in the Palestinian Authority including an early contribution to the World Bank Reform Trust Fund of €70 million – to be paid in instalments and subject to benchmarks

• A substantial contribution to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).

• An Infrastructure Facility to support urgent projects and basic services. This Facility could, among other things, be used to address Palestinian needs following Israel’s disengagement from Gaza and Northern Parts of the West Bank. Projects are still to be identified but the Commissioner’s visit revealed support to the reconstruction of the Sea Port as a possibility that that should be further investigated.

For more information:

The EU's relations with West Bank and Gaza Strip:

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