$10 million in humanitarian assistance for the Palestinian Authority and territories

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Today I met with Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad Al-Malki in Ramallah. I also visited the Qalandia Refugee Camp in the West Bank and met officials from the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA).

I advised Dr Al-Malki that the Australian Government will provide $10 million in assistance for the Palestinian Authority and people.

This represents the final tranche of the $45 million for 2008 promised by Australia at the Paris Donors' Conference in December last year.

Of the $10 million, $7.5 million will be budget support for the Palestinian Authority delivered via the World Bank's Palestinian Reform and Development Plan trust fund.

The remaining $2.5 million will be provided for emergency food assistance in Gaza to be delivered through UNRWA to help address the difficult humanitarian situation in Gaza.

Australia's commitment to support capacity building by the Palestinian Authority contributes to economic development, a vital prerequisite for building an effective Palestinian State and helping to ensure the security of Israel.

Today's announcement adds to the $20 million in budget support provided to the Palestinian Authority and $15 million in assistance previously provided through UNRWA, the International Committee of the Red Cross and other humanitarian agencies.

This assistance provides ongoing support to almost 4.5 million Palestinian refugees in the West Bank, Gaza, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon.

Media inquiries: Mr Smith's office 02 6277 7500 - Departmental Media Liaison 02 6261 1555