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At the March 2 donors' conference in Sharm el-Sheik, Egypt, the United States pledged $900 million to address the immediate needs of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza and support our longer-term approach of fostering the conditions in which a Palestinian state can be realized. All the funds support the economic and institutional priorities of the Palestinian Authority under the leadership of President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.
Last week, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton announced the delivery of a major component of that pledge:
"I am pleased to announce that the United States has transferred $200 million in direct support to the Palestinian Authority. This transfer fulfills a critical portion of the assistance package that I announced in March in Sharm el-Sheikh."
During the past two years, said Secretary of State Clinton, the Palestinian Authority (PA) has made great strides t to improve security, instituted economic reform and prudent fiscal management, and laid down the foundations of a responsible, transparent and accountable government. That is why the United States has no qualms about supporting the Palestinian Authority, said Secretary Clinton:
" The ability of the United States to provide support directly to the Palestinian Authority is an indication of the bipartisan support for the effort to secure the peace in the Middle East, as well as for the fundamental reforms that the Palestinian Authority has [have]undertaken."
By strengthening the Palestinian Authority and its ability to meet the needs of its people, the United States hopes to foster conditions in which a Palestinian State can be fully realized. At stake, said Secretary of State Clinton, is the future of the Palestinian people, the future security of Israel, as well as the stability of the entire region.
"So these are the goals we seek to accomplish: a comprehensive Arab-Israel peace agreement and a two-state solution. And it is our hope that this support will further conditions in which a Palestinian state can be realized."
"The United States," said Secretary of State Clinton, "has [been,] and will continue to be, a partner with the Palestinian people for peace, prosperity, and security."