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Al-Zahhar to Arabs: If You Don’t Help Us, Who Will?
17/04/2006

Palestine Media Center – PMC [Official arm of the PA]
www.palestine-pmc.com/details.asp?cat=1&id=1119

Iran and Russia have bailed out the Palestinian government, cash-stripped by
an Israeli, US and EU financial siege, while the Palestinian Foreign
Minister Mahmoud Al-Zahhar was touring Arab countries in on a fund-raising
mission.

Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said in Tehran on Sunday that
Iran allocated $100 million to help the Palestinian people.

Mottaki made the announcement while addressing the closing ceremony of the
“Third International Conference on Qods and Support for the Rights of
Palestinian People.”

However, Mottaki did not say how or when the Iranian “gift” would reach the
Palestinians.

Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told Muslim countries on
Friday that they had a duty to support Palestinians.

“The Islamic world cannot remain indifferent and silent to tyranny,” the
all-powerful cleric said at the start of the conference in Tehran.

Addressing the Palestinians he said: “Your martyrs are our martyrs. Your
pain is our pain. Islamic nations have the duty to help you in every
possible way, and help you along this blessed path.”

Separately the Syrian First Vice-President Farouk al-Shara said in Tehran on
the same day that the Syrian government is to open several banking accounts
to collect material aid for the Palestinian government and people.

The Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has ordered opening of several banking
accounts for the Palestinians in order to prevent a human catastrophe in the
Israeli-occupied lands, al-Shara said.

Earlier last week Russia also said Moscow will grant the Palestinian
National Authority (PNA) urgent financial aid.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov made the pledge to Palestinian
President Mahmoud Abbas in a telephone call.

A Russian foreign ministry statement said: “Mahmoud Abbas stated his high
appreciation of Russia’s intent, confirmed by Sergei Lavrov, to grant the
Palestinian Authority an urgent financial aid in the nearest future.”

Lavrov said on Tuesday that withholding aid to the Palestinians was a
mistake.

However, “Hamas should… recognize Israel and sit down at the negotiating
table. But for that it’s necessary to work with them,” Lavrov added.

Earlier Russian President Vladimir Putin said after receiving the
credentials of a new Palestinian ambassador in Moscow: “Russia is ready to
further render assistance to the leadership of Palestine, Palestinian
Government and Palestinian administration headed by Mahmoud Abbas.”

Meanwhile Palestinian Foreign Minister Al-Zahhar on Saturday urged Arab
states to honor and immediately carry out their financial pledges to the
Palestinian government.

Al-Zahhar was expected in Saudi Arabia from Egypt on Monday, on the second
leg of a fund-raising Arab tour that will take him to Jordan on Wednesday.

“We are not only looking to follow up on Arab aid, we would like to increase
it because the Israeli occupation bans us from accessing the 60 million
dollars per month,” he told 22 representatives of Arab states at the Arab
League’s Cairo headquarters.

Al-Zahhar held talks in Cairo on Saturday with Arab League Secretary-General
Amr Mousa. He told the Arab representatives: “If you don’t help us, who will
help?”

Arab leaders meeting in the Sudanese capital Khartoum in late March pledged
to pay more than 50 million US dollars to the PNA per month.

However, only Algeria, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia have so far paid their
contributions.


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