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OPT: Jordan sends aid supplies to Gaza

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Monarch reiterates support for Abbas

AMMAN, June 19 (JT) - King Abdullah on Monday ordered the dispatch of food and other humanitarian aid to Gaza, which suffers a shortage in basic commodities, a Royal Court statement said.

Thirty trucks loaded with 450 tonnes of aid supplies will leave today for Gaza, Secretary of the Jordan Hashemite Charity Organization Abdul Salam Abbadi was quoted as saying. He added that other shipments of supplies are scheduled to follow.

Israel sealed the borders around Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip of some 1.5 million people in the wake of the group's takeover of the territory on Thursday, sparking fears of a humanitarian disaster in the overcrowded enclave, where most people depend on international aid, according to Agence France-Presse.

In the past three years, Jordan sent 226 aid convoys, involving 1,400 trucks to the West Bank and Gaza Strip at a cost of JD48 million.

The King yesterday also telephoned Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and hoped the formation of the new Palestinian government would help resume the Middle East peace process, and strengthen the "internal front", according to another statement.

The Monarch told Abbas it is important to prevent any attempt to divide the Palestinians. He "stressed the need to support the unity of the Palestinian people, under their legitimate leadership of the Palestinian Authority".

Abbas, for his part, briefed the King on developments in the Palestinian territories and PA efforts to enhance security and tackle the "complicated situation facing the future of the Palestinian people".

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Marouf Bakhit called his Palestinian counterpart Salam Fayyad and discussed developments in the Palestinian territories, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported.

"Bakhit wished success to Fayyad and his new government, particularly at the current difficult stage," Petra said.

He reiterated that Jordan "respects the Palestinian Authority's legitimacy and hoped the crisis would end in a way that guarantees Palestinian unity."