U.S Department of State spokeswoman, Victoria Nuland, stated on Monday afternoon, that she is working with the concerned committees in the Congress to unblock $495 million in aid allotted to the Palestinian Authority for the fiscal year of 2012 and $200 million for 2013. The funds have been held up in Congress due to Palestinian achievements at the U.N.
In a statement sent out to the media on Monday, the State Department said, “we are working with Congress on guaranteeing U.S aid to the Palestinians, including $495 million for the 2012 fiscal year which was approved in April 2012, and $200 million for the 2013 fiscal year which was notified last week.”
The statement, which Nuland re-read during her daily press briefing on Monday, affirmed the US position that, “In our opinion, the aid we provide to the Palestinians is a vital part of the U.S commitment to the Two State Solution; Palestine and Israel, through negotiations.”
The State Department also stresses that it is “not only for the benefit of the Palestinians, but also for the benefit of Israel and the U.S, as it guarantees the continuation of efforts towards establishing a more democratic, secure, and stable region.”
In response to a query about the reasons for the funds being stalled again, particularly since Congresswoman Granger gave the green light for their release, Nuland said, “Congresswoman Granger approved the transfer of funds, however others are still reluctant.”
It is worth mentioning that Spokeswoman Nuland announced that $100 million of the aforementioned total aid is allotted to drug control.
She also noted that the Secretary of State, John Kerry, had taken a personal interest in the matter and in discussing the matter with those concerned in the Congress.
On Monday evening, Al-Quds learned from sources close to the Congress that it is willing to free up $100 million specifically for drug control, however the Palestinian Authority has rejected this.