Magazine article Europe-East

Eu/middle East : Quartet Prolongs Aid Mechanism for Palestinians

Magazine article Europe-East

Eu/middle East : Quartet Prolongs Aid Mechanism for Palestinians

Article excerpt

With a view to supporting Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's efforts to rally Hamas to the principles laid down by the international community, the Quartet (EU, United States, Russia and the United Nations) agreed on 20 September in New York to prolong the temporary international aid mechanism (TIM) for the Palestinian population by a further three months. The decision was backed by the EU, which is seeking to convince Washington to support the new government of national unity due to be established under the terms of the agreement between the Palestinian president and Prime Minister Ismael Haniyeh of the Hamas movement last week. The ultimate objective is a possible resumption of direct aid to the Palestinian Authority.

The Quartet balked in New York at taking this step, notably pending clarification of the conditions of the government agreement. Mahmoud Abbas suspended the agreement on 17 September following declarations by Hamas members contradicting the pledge to respect past agreements by the Palestinian Authority, including the road map and implicit recognition of the state of Israel. Negotiations are continuing behind the scenes.

In the meantime, the Quartet has urged Israel to use the TIM to resume payments to the Palestinians of taxes charged on the entry into the territories and to permit the reopening of the Rafah border post between Gaza and Egypt, deemed vital to relaunching the local economy. The Europeans, represented in New York by EU High Representative Javier Solana, External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner and Finland's Foreign Minister and acting EU President Erkki Tuomioja, are determined to seize the opportunity presented by the new Palestinian government to relaunch the peace process. …

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