Sunday, April 16, 2006

Iran to Give 50 Mln Dollars Aid to Hamas Government

Yahoo News:
Iran has announced that it was giving 50 million dollars in aid to the cash-strapped Hamas-led Palestinian government following a suspension of funding from the United States and European Union.

"The government of the Islamic republic invites all countries to help the Palestinian government and nation, and announces the allocation of 50 million dollars to help the Palestinian government and people," Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki announced Sunday. READ MORE

He was speaking at the end of a regime-sponsored conference in Tehran on supporting the Palestinians. Top officials used the gathering to call for Islamic nations to fill the gap in Palestinian authority finances.

"We warn that if the aid is cut and if this continues in the near future, this land will witness a humanitarian disaster," Mottaki said.

Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal, who was attending the conference, has urged Muslim countries to dig deep.

He said on Saturday that the new Palestinian administration, which took office after Hamas's landslide election win in January, has inherited not only an empty treasury, but 1.7 billion dollars in debts.

Meshaal said "170 million dollars a month is needed to run the administration, out of which 115 million dollars goes to paying salaries."

EU foreign ministers last week formally backed plans for a temporary aid suspension to the Palestinian government -- amid demands for Hamas to renounce violence, recognise Israel and to abide by previous Palestinian commitments.

The EU gives about 500 million euros (600 million dollars) a year to the Palestinian Authority, about half of it collectively through Brussels and the rest from individual EU governments.