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Abbas doubts Iran aid would reach Palestinians

Written by: Staff
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CAIRO, March 2 (Reuters) Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said in remarks broadcast today he doubted funds pledged by Iran in case of Western aid cuts would reach the Palestinians because of global checks on the flow of funds.

The United States and European Union have threatened to cut all but humanitarian aid unless Hamas, which won January elections and has been asked to form a government, recognises Israel, renounces violence and accepts past peace deals.

A senior Hamas official said this week Iran had agreed to provide the Palestinians with enough money to make up for any cuts in foreign aid to the Palestinian Authority.

Abbas, a member of the Fatah faction defeated by Hamas in the elections, said in an interview with Al Jazeera he did not have details of any Iranian offer. Asked about the offer, he asked: ''How will it enter the Palestinian territories?'' ''We are fully aware that the movement of finance is now globally subject to many inspections. I don't think the world can allow the entry of this type of money,'' Abbas said.

''As far as we're concerned, if aid comes to the Palestinian Authority, from any source, and it reaches us, we of course welcome it,'' he added.

Palestinians are dependent on foreign aid totalling more than 1 billion dollars a year.

The European Union announced a special aid package of 120 million euros (3 million) on Monday to help stave off an imminent financial collapse of the Palestinian Authority.

REUTERS OM RN1720

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