Clinton: U.S. will push to help Palestinians with financial crisis

(JTA) – Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told the Palestinian and Jordanian that Washington is ‘looking at every means possible’ to alleviate the Palestinian financial crisis.

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According to a  senior State Department official, Clinton made the comments Wednesday in New York during a one-hour working lunch with Jordan’s King Abdullah and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who were there for the U.N. General Assembly. 

The Obama administration currently has an assistance package on Capitol Hill that includes a $200 million direct budget request for the PA. The World Bank said last week that action was needed “urgently” to prevent a “deepening financial crisis” in Palestinian areas. 

Earlier in the week, the semiannual meeting of the Ad Hoc Liason Committee, which coordinates aid for the Palestinians, convened to discuss the PA’s financial dilemma. The group is chaired by Norway and co-chaired by the United States and the European Union. 

Also Wednesday, Clinton urged Turkish Foreign Minister Davutoglu to have officials from his country meet with Israel to “sit down and work through the difficult issues that they have together” in light of the “enormous number of strategic interests and challenges” they share. 

In a meeting with Lebanese Prime Minister Miqati and the U.N. Secretary-General’s special representative for Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, Clinton said there is “more than a risk” in Southern Lebanon that Hezbollah is “using its areas as a platform for destabilizing Syria and also creating real challenges in other parts of the world as well.”

In addition, Clinton met with League of Arab States Secretary General Nabil Elaraby and signed a memorandum of understanding outlining a framework for future dialogue and technical cooperation between the United States and the organization. 

Elaraby told Clinton that the resolution of most of the problems in the Middle East “depend on what the United States will do to resolve them.” He specifically noted that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the Syrian crisis need Washington’s “active participation.” 

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