Lindh joins Patten mercy mission for Palestinians

Author (Person)
Series Title
Series Details Vol 7, No.10, 8.3.01, p5
Publication Date 08/03/2001
Content Type

Date: 08/03/01

By Simon Taylor

EXTERNAL relations Commissioner Chris Patten and Swedish Foreign Minister Anna Lindh will make an impassioned appeal to Arab states next week over the future of the Palestinian Authority.

They will urge them to provide emergency aid to prevent Yasser Arafat's administration from collapsing and dealing a near fatal blow to hopes of a peace deal in the Middle East.

Patten, Lindh and the EU's special envoy to the Middle East, Miguel Moratinos, will meet foreign ministers from the Arab League countries in Cairo on the first day of a courtesy trip to the region to see the new Israeli national unity government. The EU team will urge them to take part in the emergency donors conference for the Palestinian authority to be held in Stockholm next Thursday and Friday (15-16 March).

Patten warned last month that the authority was on the verge of financial collapse because EU funds for the body were close to running out. The authority provides essential health, education and general public services in the Palestinian territories, but has been running out of money since Israel stopped handing over tax receipts in response to violence in the area.

The EU delegation will urge new Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and members of his seven-party coalition to suspend the economic blockade of the Palestinians.

In a separate move, Union officials have been negotiating an emergency austerity budget for the Palestinian authority with their counterparts from the body and the World Bank.

Patten and Lindh will also confirm to the new Israeli government leaders the EU's commitment to playing an active role in the peace process and urge them to take steps to restart negotiations with the Palestinians as soon as possible.

Countries / Regions