Chirac lobbies for World Bank fund for Hamas

4th May 2006, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, May 3, 2006 (AFP) - French President Jacques Chirac wrote Wednesday to leaders of Israel and the Middle East peace quartet to ask them to back the creation of a World Bank account to channel aid to the Palestinians.

PARIS, May 3, 2006 (AFP) - French President Jacques Chirac wrote Wednesday to leaders of Israel and the Middle East peace quartet to ask them to back the creation of a World Bank account to channel aid to the Palestinians.

Chirac said it was essential for the quartet members — the European Union, the United Nations, the United States and Russia — to reach an agreement on the fund at their next meeting on May 9, in a letter obtained by AFP.

He warned a swift decision was needed to avoid "serious destabilisation" in the Palestinian territories, which have been plunged into financial crisis by the suspension of EU and US aid to the Hamas-led government.

"Action is necessary, even urgent. The international community has a reponsibility that it must not seek to evade," Chirac warned in the letter.

Last month, the EU — the biggest donor to the Palestinians — decided to suspend non-humanitarian aid in order to put pressure on the newly-constituted Hamas government to participate in peace talks.

To avoid financial meltdown in the territories, Chirac on Friday proposed creating a World Bank account to send payments directly to 160,000 Palestinian civil servants, thus bypassing the Hamas-led government.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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