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Middle East

International efforts to pick up the pieces

Article published on the 2009-03-02 Latest update 2009-03-02 14:26 TU

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak opens Gaza reconstruction meeting, Sharm el-Sheikh, March 2, 2009.
photo: REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak opens Gaza reconstruction meeting, Sharm el-Sheikh, March 2, 2009.
photo: REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih

The Palestinians are seeking US$2.8 billion on Monday from international aid donors to rebuild Gaza in the wake of the destruction by Israel's three-week campaign against Hamas in December and January. Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas underlined the need for a political settlement to end the conflict between the Palestinians and Israel.

Expressing gratitude for the financial, economic and technical support for the reconstruction of Gaza from the international donors, Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas added that, "we insist on the pressing need to achieve substantial progress towards a just settlement."

In a sign of strong support for Abbas, French president Nicolas Sarkozy has called on all the Palestinians to rally to the unity government proposed by Palestinian Authority head Mahmud Abbas. At the opening of the meeting on the reconstruction of Gaza in Sharm el Sheikh on Monday, Sarkozy told, "the countries with links with Hamas," that they have "a special responsibility to insist that it [Hamas] joins President Abbas, whose approach to peace, is the only one that will produce results."

Sarkozy, who is co-chair of the Gaza reconstruction meeting with Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, went on to address all Palestinian leaders, saying, "if you want to be considered as legitimate representatives, you must acknowledge that there is no other path to the creation of a Palestinian state, other than your committment to a political solution and thus dialogue with Israel, on the basis of what has been gained in past negotiations."

The conference for Economic Support to the Palestinians and for the Reconstruction of Gaza, is attended by delegates from more than seventy countries and organisations, including the United States.

US Secretary of State addressing the other participants, echoed the main speakers' call for along with economic aid for Gaza and the West Bank "broader efforts to achieve peace."