Middle East

International Development written question – answered on 30th March 2006.

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Photo of Ian Austin Ian Austin Labour, Dudley North

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment he has made of the merits of using non-governmental organisation funding as a means of sustaining international aid to the Palestinians.

Photo of Hilary Benn Hilary Benn The Secretary of State for International Development

Non-governmental organisations play a vital role in meeting the needs of some Palestinians and holding the Palestinian Authority (PA) to account. However, they do not have the capacity to substitute for an effective PA. DFID has international experience of helping governments to deliver essential services. This is our preferred way of working and, in the past, we have put much of our aid through the PA.

Following the recent Palestinian elections, however! aid to the Hamas-led PA is being reviewed against its commitment to the Quartet principles of non-violence, recognition of Israel and commitment to the peace process. We hope that the new PA will comply with these conditions, in which case funding will continue. If it does not comply we will look carefully at other options for helping the Palestinian people. However, for the time being, it is too early to say which options would be most suitable.

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