HC Deb 27 June 1994 vol 245 c550
30. Mr. Janner

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what he proposes to allocate for aid in Gaza and Jericho in the current year.

The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Mr. Douglas Hurd)

We expect to provide £70 million over the three financial years from 1994–95 in help to the Palestinians and support for the middle east peace process. That includes our share of the European programme of help to the west bank and Gaza, our contribution to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East and our own bilateral technical co-operation programme. My figure includes help to the rest of the west bank and to Palestinian refugees generally, as well as to Gaza and Jericho.

Mr. Janner

The right hon. Gentleman understands the importance of the Palestine Liberation Organisation succeeding in managing the economies of both Gaza and Jericho. May I thank the Government for what they have done so far in increasing aid, but ask that much more be done to ensure that that management proves highly successful in the future, because if it does not, there will be trouble for all?

Mr. Hurd

The hon. and learned Gentleman is entirely right. The administration of the Gaza strip and Jericho is not easy by any standards. We had begun by thinking that we would not give help for recurrent costs, but we are now doing so, in response to arguments from persons such as the hon. and learned Gentleman.

Mr. John Marshall

Does my right hon. Friend accept that if the Palestinian people's expectations that their living standards will rise are not fulfilled there is a danger that Muslim fundamentalists will increase their sway in that part of the world? Will he therefore press the European Union not only to give aid but to trade on an increasing scale with Gaza and Jericho?

Mr. Hurd

Immediate aid has been given, about which I have just given some account. Training programmes are also offered. For example, we are helping to train senior Palestinian police officers at Bramshill. Trade is also taking place, as my hon. Friend mentioned. It is also important that the Palestinian leadership should be seen to assert its control in the area and I hope that it will not be too long before Mr. Arafat returns Jericho.

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