-  Saturday 15 August 2020

Abbas urges EU to rescind decision to cut funding for Palestinians

RABAT, April 14 (Xinhua)
Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas appealed on Friday to the European Union (EU) to "go back on its decision to halt its financial aid to the Palestinian people" and called on the international community to continue helping his people.

At a news conference in Casablanca at the end of a three-day visit to Morocco, Abbas said the suspension of EU aid, which is used to meet the basic needs of Palestinian residents, fund development projects and pay government employees' salaries, was unfair to the grassroot Palestinians "who has done nothing wrong."

Abbas also said he would soon travel to France to discuss the issue with French President Jacques Chirac in a bid to convince the EU leaders to keep the aid flowing.

He also acknowledged the financial predicament in the Palestinian Treasury and confirmed that the Arab states had agreedin their Khartoum summit to speed up aid to prevent any possible economic collapse of the Hamas-led Palestinian National Authority.

 Foreign ministers of the 25-nation EU endorsed on Monday the decision of the European Commission, the executive arm of the EU, to suspend direct financial aid to the Palestinian government after Hamas refused to renounce violence and recognize Israel's right to exist.

Hamas took office on March 29 after it won the Jan. 25 Palestinian legislative elections, beating Abbas's moderate Fatah party.

The EU remains the biggest donor to the Palestinians, giving 500 million euros (615 million U.S. dollars) a year in aid.

Abbas arrived in Morocco on Wednesday for a working visit, during which he held talks with Moroccan King Mohammed VI, Prime Minister Driss Jettou and speakers of the higher and lower houses of parliament. They agreed on the importance of re-starting peace talks between the Palestinians and Israel. Enditem

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