"As is" reference - not a United Nations document
At a meeting between the Prime Minister, Salam Fayyad, members of the Government and the Representatives of donor Governments and international organisations in Ramallah on Tuesday 24 July, the European Commission announced a decision taken in Brussels the same day to allocate a further $123 million for assistance to the Palestinian people. Together with generous allocations by its different member countries, this decision brings total European Union assistance so far in 2007 to over $1 billion, which is more than the assistance that was given in the whole of 2006.
Just over half of the funds for 2007 have been donated by the European Union through the European Commission, with the rest being donated bilaterally by the individual countries which make up the EU. Almost $500 million has been spent on keeping the PA running, through contributions to PA employees and other operating costs of the Government. About $250 million has been allocated to helping Palestinian refugees through contributions to UNRWA. The rest has been divided equally between humanitarian assistance on the one hand and development projects on the other.
Speaking after the Ramallah meeting, the European Commission's Head of Operations in Jerusalem, Roy Dickinson, said: "We have been impressed by the decisive steps which the Government has already taken to put the public finances in better order." More than half of the EU's new funds for the Palestinian people have been allocated since Dr Fayyad took over at the Ministry of Finance. "But it was clear from the discussion that the Government still faces huge challenges, and still needs considerable help from donor countries."
The European Union is by far the biggest source of international support to the Palestinian people. In 2005, it provided around $880 million of assistance. In 2006, that figure went up to around $980 million. And in the first seven months of 2007 alone, the EU has committed $1,080 million: the equivalent of $250 for every Palestinian woman, man and child.
"This new allocation of funds from the European Commission is a clear demonstration of the European Union's unswerving commitment to the Palestinian people," said Dickinson. "And it is a sign of the EU's enduring hope that Palestinians will soon enjoy greater peace and prosperity."
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