The European Union on Monday resumed aid to the Palestinian finance ministry for the first time since the West launched an economic boycott of the government more than a year ago.
The assistance begins with a four-million-euro (about five-million-dollar) project to help ensure that Palestinian taxpayers' money is spent efficiently and that expenditures are accounted for.
"Minister of finance Dr Salam Fayyad and European Commission representative John Kjaer today signed a memorandum of understanding which relaunches European Union assistance to the ministry of finance," the European Commission said.
"The European Union's first step will be a four million euro project to help the minister of finance in ensuring that Palestinian taxpayers' money is spent efficiently and that all expenditures are accounted for to the highest international standards," it added.
The European Union, one of the biggest Palestinian donors, suspended direct aid to their government after Hamas took office in March 2006.
The European Commission has now decided to renew direct assistance to the ministry after Hamas formed a national unity government in March and with the appointment of Fayyad, a political independent and widely respected economist.
Under the project launched on Monday, the four million euros will be paid in instalments until June 2009 and training will be provided in both the Ramallah and Gaza City offices of the finance ministry by accountancy firm Ernst & Young.
"This support for the ministry... will help me ensure that we work in accordance with the best international standards, and that the government can give every Palestinian taxpayer the assurance that their money is being legally and honestly spent," Fayyad said in a statement.
With this programme, "the EU is resuming its support of the Palestinian Authority in a direct manner by the finance ministry," Fayyad said in a press conference after the signing.
Last Mod: 11 Haziran 2007, 15:05