Obama signs waiver to lift Palestinian aid barrier (AFP) AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE) 04/27/12)
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President Barack Obama has signed a waiver to remove curbs on funding
to the Palestinian Authority, declaring the aid to be "important to
the security interests of the United States."
A $192 million aid package was frozen by the US Congress after the
Palestinians moved to gain statehood at the United Nations last
But in a memo sent to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, published
by the White House, the president said it was appropriate to release
funds to the authority, which administers the West Bank and Gaza
In signing the waiver, Obama instructed Clinton to inform Congress of
the move, on the grounds that "waiving such prohibition is important
to the national security interests of the United States."
The Department of State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs
Appropriations Act of 2012 contained a provision that said none of
the funds "may be obligated or expended with respect to providing
funds to the Palestinian Authority."
In November, the US Congress released $40 million but the State
Department had expressed concern about being able to provide the
necessary funding to address the dire economic and humanitarian
hardship facing Palestinians.
White House spokesman Tommy Vietor said the funds were aimed
at "ensuring the continued viability of the moderate PA government
under the leadership of president Mahmoud Abbas and prime minister
"The PA has recognized Israel´s right to exist, renounced violence,
and accepted previous agreements, including the Roadmap," he said,
referring to the peace plan proposed by the so-called Middle East
Quartet -- United States, the European Union, Russia and the United
"The United States is committed to a just, lasting, and comprehensive
peace in the Middle East, including a two-state solution to the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict," he added.
On April 11, the Quartet called on foreign donors to deliver promised
aid to the Palestinians while urging Israelis and Palestinians to
build trust to revive peace talks. (Copyright © 2012 Agence France
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