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PNA agrees to return 50-million-dollar fund to U.S.
www.chinaview.cn 2006-02-19 19:38:13

    RAMALLAH, Feb. 19 (Xinhuanet) -- Palestinian Economic Minister Mazen Sonokrot said on Sunday that the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) has no objection to returning 50 million U.S.dollars of fund at the request of Washington.

    Sonokrot told Palestinian radio Voice of Palestine that the money was aid given to the PNA for infrastructure projects after Israel's withdrawal from the Gaza Strip last September.

    "The PNA is preparing itself and the caretaker cabinet doesn't have any objection to returning this 50 million dollars, although it still needs it due to the difficult situation of the Palestinian economy," said Sonokrot.

    The U.S. State Department said on Friday that the step was made because Washington does not want this money to be in the coffers of the next Palestinian cabinet to be formed by Hamas, which became the dominant political power in the Palestinian parliament after its members were sworn in on Saturday.

    In a first response to the inauguration of the Hamas-led Palestinian legislature and a future Hamas government, Israeli cabinet approved on Sunday a package of tough measures against the Palestinians, including the halt of a monthly transfer of customs duties Israel collects on behalf of the PNA. Enditem

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