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EU must immediately restore funding to Palestinian Authority - Bairbre de Brún

16 May, 2006


Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún has this morning urged the European Union ‘not to ignore the plight of the Palestinian people’. Ms de Brún made her calls before the Palestinian Mahmoud Abbas was due to address assembled MEPs at the European Parliament in Strasbourg.

Speaking from Strasbourg Ms de Brún said:

“I want to welcome President Abbas to the European Parliament today. Of course, this first address was due to take place in March of this year but had to be cancelled at the last minute when Israeli forces attacked and demolished Jericho Jail.  Many believe this was timed to prevent President Abbas from addressing the European parliament in solemn session.

“Today the President will have an opportunity to address MEPs and outline the worsening situation in the country. At present the Palestinian Authority is facing a severe humanitarian crisis. Following the Hamas election victory at the beginning of the year, both the European Union and the United States have frozen aid payments to the authority.

“Even though the Hamas victory was achieved in a free and fair election, of which I was an international observer, the people of Palestine are being punished because of those they chose to elect. The freezing of EU funding is affecting people on the ground most with reports emanating from Palestine suggesting food and medicine shortages. Public sector workers are also going without pay which is starving whole neighbourhoods of revenue.

“I want to call on both the European Commission and Council to reverse their decision on funding the Palestinian Authority. Ordinary people are suffering because of a political decision made in the corridors of Brussels.” ENDS

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