Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Abbas says No to the US and gets rewarded with EU aid

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday spurned a new US effort to revive Mideast peace talks, sticking to his position that he will not resume negotiations unless Israel freezes settlement construction.

Abbas said on Tuesday he will not resume talks under the current conditions. "No negotiations," he told reporters at his headquarters in Ramallah. "We won't agree to resume negotiations without a full settlement freeze, especially in Jerusalem, for a certain period."

(AP) -- U.S. envoy George Mitchell urged European and other international donors on Tuesday to help the Palestinian Authority finance its institution-building program as it prepares to set up a Palestinian state.

''To that end we stressed coordination and working together to support the Palestinian Authority's program to build the institutions of a future state,'' he said. ''No one country and no one person can do this alone.''

The meeting in Brussels came as the Obama administration gears up to try to relaunch stalled Israeli-Palestinian talks. The consultations involved the foreign ministers of France, Spain and Norway, which chairs the international donors' grouping.

The European Union is the largest donor to the Palestinian Authority, contributing more than one billion euros last year to help cover its budget and finance economic development.

''We have to see that the institutions that are the embryo of what will become the (Palestinian) state have to be supported,'' Norway's Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere said.

''We feel confident that donors will again rally to the challenge and stand up to support a Palestinian state living side by side by Israel,'' he said.