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France pledges $100 million to Palestinians

July 11, 2011 6:59 P.M. (Updated: July 11, 2011 6:59 P.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) -- Palestinian officials say France has pledged $100 million to support the government in Ramallah.

The funds will go toward development programs, humanitarian relief initiatives and the general budget of the Palestinian Authority as well as to support several other cooperative projects, the Palestinian Authority minister of planning and development said.

Ali Al-Jirbawi said the pledge affirmed "strong relations between the Palestinian Authority and the French government," which he praised for its "great efforts" to support Palestinian development projects.

The pledge was agreed during annual consultations between the two sides at the headquarters of the planning ministry in Ramallah. Al-Jirbawi hosted Frederick Dizinio, the French consul-general, for the talks on Thursday.

France provides about $400 million to the Palestinians per year, according to figures kept by the PA.

The French pledge comes as the PA faces a financial crisis and Prime Minister in Ramallah Salam Fayyad is urging Arab donor countries to support their financial commitments to the PA budget.

On Thursday, Fayyad and the British Minister for International Development Alan Duncan signed an agreement to provide $420 million in aid to Palestine between 2011 and 2014.

The aid agreement will contribute $160 million toward supporting the budget and other funds will be allocated to development projects, technical assistance, projects supporting civil society and others.

The UK has donated approximately $320 million to the PA as of 2007.

At the Paris donors conference in 2007, the UK pledged to give a further $500 million over the 2008-2010 period to support infrastructure projects and strengthen Palestinian Authority institutions.
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