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EU offers financial support to Palestinians

Sept. 9, 2013 at 10:05 AM

BRUSSELS, Sept. 9 (UPI) -- The European Union said Monday it was offering $68.5 million in financial aid to Palestine to support a two-year national development plan.

"I am pleased to announce this assistance package to support Palestinian economic development on the day that the Palestinian Prime Minister [Rami] Hamdallah is here in Brussels," EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said in a statement.

The EU said the package was aimed to supporting private sector jobs, Palestinian infrastructure and small capital investments in East Jerusalem as spelled out in a two-year development plan.

Ashton said the EU was committed to Palestinian state-building processes. Palestinian leaders gained more recognition from the U.N. General Assembly last year.

"The ultimate objective of the EU's financial assistance remains the establishment of a Palestinian state living side by side with Israel in peace and security," Ashton said.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry tried to put more diplomatic capital behind a stalled Israeli-Palestinian process earlier this year. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said 2013 would be a decisive year for a two-state solution to the crisis.

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