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Australian assistance to Palestine



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Minister’s Office: 02 6277 7500 or 0466 745 615 Department: 02 6261 1555

MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS

The Hon. Kevin Rudd MP

AUSTRALIAN ASSISTANCE TO PALESTINE

Australian support will continue to help the Palestinian people gain access to health, education, housing and social services, the Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd announced today in Ramallah.

Australia will provide three years of predictable base funding of up to $18 million to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), which helps Palestinian refugees residing in the West Bank, Gaza, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria.

Mr Rudd said Australia has a long history of supporting the Palestinian people, and this investment builds on the $88 million Australia has provided to UNRWA since 2000. At the moment, Australia is the 10th largest contributor to UNRWA.

“Our support helped UNRWA send 470,000 Palestinian children to school, saw 4,200 health workers provide medical care in 134 centres, improved water and sanitation facilities in 105 schools, and increased income generation and food security for over 50,000 Palestinians,” Mr Rudd said.

The increased support was announced following Mr Rudd’s meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Foreign Minister Riad Malki and UNRWA Commissioner-General Filippo Grandi.

The Australian Government will also be providing up to 50 post-graduate scholarships over the next five years, to meet Palestinian priorities. These scholarships are aimed at giving more Palestinians the skills needed to run an effective future Palestinian state.

Australia has also agreed to provide $20 million this year to help the Palestinian Authority through a World Bank Trust Fund.

This funding will help the Palestinian Authority continue to implement its Reform and Development Plan which includes providing basic services such as schooling and health care.

“Australia is determined to help the Palestinian Authority lay strong foundations for a future Palestinian state and build its infrastructure and economy,” said Mr Rudd.

“I have been pleased to see these activities on the ground and commend the Palestinian Authority for the progress it has made”.

14 December 2010

RAMALLAH