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Monday, March 2, 2009

Gaza conference kicks off in Egypt

Mon, 02 Mar 2009 07:46:41 GMT | PressTV

International donors are meeting in Egypt to help rebuild Gaza but they want no role for the democratically -elected government in the region.

The donors gathered at a top-level meeting in Egypt on Monday to pledge billions of dollars for rebuilding war-battered Gaza. But they want that the Hamas government which controls the strip, to have nothing to do with spending the cash.

Hamas is not represented in this conference in Egypt's Sharm al-Sheikh sea resort, and most of the money will be given to the Western-backed Acting Palestinian Authority Chief Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank.

The meeting comes six weeks after Israel's 23-day assault on Gaza which was aimed at toppling the Hamas government and empowering Abbas instead.
Israel's military operations killed more than 1,300 Palestinian and destroyed or damaged thousands of buildings across the besieged enclave.

The conference is also held as Tel Aviv has not lifted its blockade on the impoverished strip and Gazans are suffering harsh conditions.
Abbas has asked the donors to channel all international aid to Gaza through the Palestinian Authority. "We expect rapid international aid from all parties to completely rebuild Gaza," Mr Abbas told reporters ahead of the conference without specifying how he can reconstruct a territory where his organization holds no authority and sway.

The conference is also held as Tel Aviv has not lifted its blockade on the impoverished strip and Gazans are suffering harsh conditions.
U-S Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is also among the attendants of the conference. She's reportedly carrying a check for 900-million dollars but has stressed that any aid must not benefit Hamas.

She said on Friday the aid would depend on how well the Palestinians meet the conditions of the diplomatic Quartet grouping the United States, the European Union, the United Nations and Russia.
"I will be announcing a commitment to a significant aid package, but it will only be spent if we determine that our goals can be furthered rather than undermined or subverted," she told Voice of America radio.

Quartet's main condition is that Hamas must recognize Israel, something Hamas vehemently rejects.
Alongside Clinton, UN chief Ban Ki-moon, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and EU foreign policy envoy Javier Solana, attended the conference.

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