HC Deb 15 May 2002 vol 385 cc695-6W
Mrs. Spelman

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development (1) what recent discussions she has had with the Israeli Government regarding the destination of UK funds provided to the Palestinian Authority; [55895]

(2) whether her Department has evidence that (a) EU aid and (b) UK aid has reached (i) the Fatah movement and (ii) the al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade; and if she will establish an investigation into allegations relating to the diversion of aid to those organisations; [55894]

(3) what assessment she has made of reports that EU aid to the Palestinian Authority has been misappropriated for terrorism; [55897]

(4) what recent discussions she has had with Commissioner Patten regarding the destination of EU aid to the Palestinian Authority. [55896]

Clare Short

The allegations made by the Israeli Government about the misuse of European development funds relate to budgetary support provided through the European Commission (EC). Commissioner Patten wrote to EU Foreign Ministers on 7 May stressing that to date the EC has had no evidence corroborating the allegations that EU moneys have been misused to finance terrorist activities; or for anything other than their original purpose. The EC attach strict conditionality to the direct budgetary assistance provided to the Palestinian Authority (PA). The conditions mainly reinforce the need for transparency on the PA's public finances, strengthening the prudent management of the budget, and encouraging progress on overall financial and administrative reform. We are satisfied that the EC, with the assistance of the IMF, is ensuring the conditions are met.