Arabs agree on monthly aid to Palestinians
Arab countries have decided to provide the Palestinian people with an emergency aid of $40 million per month over a six-month period, a senior Arab official told AFP Saturday, March 24.
The decision is contained in a resolution included in the final communiqué being drafted Saturday in Amman and which will be submitted to Arab heads of state for ratification at a two-day summit that opens Tuesday in Jordan.
"All points concerning the Palestinian issue have been approved without any hitches by Arab foreign ministers who met here Saturday but there is still no agreement on Iraq," the official said on condition of anonymity.
"A draft final communiqué has been completed but there is still no decision on Iraq," which has divided Arab ranks since it invaded Kuwait in August 1996 until it was driven out several months later, the official added.
Last month, the United Nations estimated that the Palestinian economy had lost more than a billion dollars since the beginning of an uprising against Israel that started September 28.
Palestinian Finance Minister Mohammad Zuhdi Nashashibi last week said Palestinians will seek emergency aid of $320 million at the Arab summit from a promised fund of one billion dollars pledged in October in Cairo by an extraordinary summit in Cairo. So far, a mere $15 million have been forthcoming.
Arab foreign ministers and delegates opened two-days of discussions and consultations Saturday in the Jordanian capital to finalize the agenda that will be submitted to their leaders at the summit.
They held a plenary session in the morning and then broke up for lunch followed by a series of bilateral consultations most of it devoted to trying to find consensus on Iraq. The ministers will gather at a dinner banquet offered by Jordanian Foreign Minister Abdel Ilah Al-Khatib and then meet again to pursue their discussions. — (AFP, Amman)
© Agence France Presse 2001
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