Clinton pledges $900 mn in aid to Palestinians

March 2nd, 2009 - 7:04 pm ICT by IANS  

Sharm al-Sheikh (Egypt), March 2 (DPA) US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Monday pledged $900 million in aid to Palestinians and promised there would be active US involvement in efforts to broker a peace between Israelis and Palestinians.
“As President (Barack) Obama has said, the United States will engage in these efforts with vigour and intensity,” Clinton told the delegates from 75 donor countries gathered in the Egyptian resort city of Sharm al-Sheikh.

She said that the aid package was predicated on the notion that “a child growing up without health care or education in Gaza… has the same right to health care and education as a child growing up in your country or mine”.

But Clinton stressed that Washington would institute safeguards to ensure that the $900 million aid would be used “only by whom and for what it is intended”.

The US has been at pains to make sure that aid is not channelled to Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, and which Washington lists as a terrorist organisation.

The US secretary of state urged Hamas to “break the cycle of rejection and resistance”, saying this was “the only way to turn this crisis into an opportunity” to create a Palestinian state “at peace with its neighbours and… accountable to its people”.

Donors gathered in Egypt are expected to contribute billions of dollars to the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip after Israel’s 22-day offensive in late December and early January.

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