AA 03 026 22 May 2003
Australia is committed to working with the international community to help bring about a lasting peace in the Middle East.
Australia welcomes the release of the Middle East 'road map', and stands ready to support this process through practical means, including the provision of modest aid to Palestinian communities.
The humanitarian situation in the Palestinian Territories remains of continuing concern.
Increased Israeli-Palestinian violence since September 2000 has led to high rates of unemployment, poverty and malnutrition, and reduced access to essential health care in the Palestinian Territories.
To help alleviate this situation I am pleased to announce further Australian humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian Territories.
Australia, through AusAID, will provide over $1 million to support food security, nutrition and health programs in the Territories.
Australia will provide $250,000 to CARE Australia for medical equipment to improve obstetric care in the Palestinian Territories.
Australia will also contribute $800,000 to the United Nations Humanitarian Plan of Action for the Palestinian Territories. Our support will fund food security, nutrition and psychosocial support programs through the Food and Agriculture Organisation and UNICEF.
These contributions are part of the ongoing humanitarian and development assistance that Australia provides to the Palestinian people. This brings Australia's aid commitment to the Palestinian Territories and Palestinian refugees to about $10.6 million in 2002-2003.
Mr Downer is in Jordan today as part of his visit to the Middle East.
Chris Kenny (Minister's office) 02 6277
7500 or 0419 206 890 (NB - no voicemail service available - text messages
Dominic Morice (AusAID) 02 6206 4220 or 0417 683 126