Donor conference in Cairo raises $5.4 bln for Gaza
Updated: 2014-10-13 11:11
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (2nd L) and Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi (2nd R) attend the international donors' conference for the reconstruction of Gaza in Cairo, Egypt, Oct 12, 2014. [Photo/Xinhua]
CAIRO - The international donor conference held on Sunday in the Egyptian capital of Cairo raised $5.4 billion for the construction of the Gaza Strip, Norwegian Foreign Minister Borge Brende revealed in the concluding statement.
The goals of the conference not only aimed at rebuilding the war-torn Gaza, but also tried to end the seven-year-old blockade imposed on the Strip and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state based on the two-state solution, the Egyptian state television quoted the statement as saying.
The donors reiterated their willingness to pay for these funds as soon as possible to improve the conditions of the Palestinian people, Brende read in the statement, urging both the Palestinians and the Israelis to resume negotiations to put an end to their conflict.
Qatar alone pledged to donate one billion dollars, while Kuwait the United Arab Emirates and Turkey promised to provide $200 million in aid for Gaza. Meanwhile, the United States pledged $212 million and the European Union promised 450 million euros.
High level Arab and foreign delegates, including the Arab League, the United Nations, the European Union, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and representatives of some world powers, joined the Gaza conference.
During the conference, US Secretary of State John Kerry said that this event shouldn't be about "just money but a renewed commitment from everybody to work for peace and meets the aspirations of all."
Kerry also reiterated Washington's support and commitment to the UN-proposed two-state solution that would enable both the Israelis and the Palestinians to live together in peace.
Egypt has recently brokered a comprehensive truce between the Palestinians and Israel after a 51-day Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip that left more than 2,000 Palestinians killed, 11,000 others wounded and over 100,000 homeless, while Hamas attacks killed at least 73 Israelis.
Cairo donor conference for Gaza came a few days after the national unity government under President Mahmoud Abbas took control over the Hamas-ruled Gaza enclave as part of their inter- Palestinian reconciliation agreement.
"The participants welcomed the first meeting of the Palestinian government held in Gaza, which is considered a positive step for restoring the Palestinian government's control over Gaza," Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shukri said in his joint statement with Brende, urging Israel to "take steps towards peace."
In an exclusive interview on the sidelines of the conference, Arab League Secretary-General Nabil al-Araby called for an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories, voicing support for Palestine's intended bid for a complete UN membership.
"The economic dimension of the conference is important, yet the political dimension is more important," Araby told Xinhua, adding the high level participation shows that "the international community feels responsible not only for Gaza reconstruction but also for ending the Israeli occupation."
The Organization for Islamic Cooperation (OIC) was also among the key participants of the Gaza donor summit that comprised more than 50 states and organizations.
"This conference is a message to the Palestinian people who feared the world had forgotten their cause because of the many regional and international issues," Hesham Youssef, Assistant OIC Secretary-General, told Xinhua at the conference hall.
Youssef argued that a huge part of the Palestinian catastrophe is caused by the international community that allowed Israeli strikes on Gaza three times in six years without taking required steps to prevent it.
"Therefore, it has to bear its responsibility now," he added.