Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, March 3 – Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit said on Monday that international donors had pledged almost 4.5 billion dollars for the reconstruction of Gaza and the Palestinian economy.
“We have gathered today 4.481 billion dollars for the next two years,” Abul Gheit annouced, reading from a final statement issued at the end of an international donor conference in the Red Sea resort of Sharm El-Sheikh.
He said the pledges were all new donations that did not take into account earlier grants by donor nations.
Abul Gheit said that the amount pledged on Monday “added to previous pledges brings the total to 5.2 billion dollars.”
“It is more than we expected,” he added.
Palestinian planning minister Samir Abdallah expressed his satisfaction and told AFP: “This conference has been one hundred percent successful.”
The Palestinian Authority came to the aid conference seeking 2.8 billion dollars from the 70-odd countries and donor groups gathered in Sharm six weeks after the guns fell largely silent in and around Gaza.
The Palestinian Authority was eyeing 1.3 billion dollars for Gaza as well as 1.5 billion dollars to shore up its budget.
Donors insist the money must be channelled through the Western-backed Palestinian Authority of president Mahmud Abbas and must not go to Gaza’s Islamist rulers Hamas, boycotted as a terrorist group by Israel and the West.