Canada suspends funding to Palestinian Authority
Ottawa, Mar 30: Canada became the first donor to suspend aid to the Palestinian Authority yesterday, saying the new Hamas-led government had failed to give assurances that it would recognize Israel's right to exist.
Canada's new Conservative government said last month that for funding to continue, Hamas would also have to renounce violence against Israel and agree to stick to the terms of previous peace deals between the two sides. Hamas rejects such demands.
''Canada will have no contact with the members of the Hamas cabinet and is suspending assistance to the Palestinian Authority,'' Foreign Minister Peter MacKay said in a statement.
''A clear commitment by the Hamas government to the principles that we and the international community have outlined remains an essential precondition for Canada to resume any assistance to the Palestinian Authority.'' Canada gives C million ( million) a year to the Palestinian Authority to fund aid projects.
Although the United States, the European Union and other donors say they are also concerned about the Hamas government, they have yet to cut assistance.
International Cooperation Minister Josee Verner said Canada would continue to ''support and respond to the humanitarian needs of the Palestinian people'' by working through the United Nations, its agencies and other organizations. She gave no further details.