Blair makes first visit to Gaza

Mideast envoy visits the Strip ahead of Gaza reconstruction conference in Egypt.

    Blair visited a school in the northern town of Beit Hanun [ REUTERS]


    Reconstruction conference

    Donors meeting in Sharm el-Sheik will be asked to fund a $2.8 billion reconstruction plan designed by Salam Fayyad, the Palestinian prime minister, who wants a large part of the money to be channelled through the West Bank-based government.

    Other aid, such as for rebuilding homes, would go directly to Gazans' bank accounts. 

    The Palestinian Authority already administers foreign aid and has been sending $120 million to Gaza each month to cover civil servants' salaries.   

    Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary general and Nicholas Sarkozy, the French president, are also expected to attend the meeting.

    Hamas plan

    Hamas, which has not been invited to the conference in Egypt, has prepared its own  reconstruction plan.

    Fawzi Barhoum, a spokesman for Hamas, said the group in control of Gaza would be co-operative.

    "We will provide all the logistical help to the donors to implement this huge project," he said.

    "We are not asking anyone to send money into our accounts."

    SOURCE: Agencies


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