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Denmark, Sweden Suspend Development Aid Payments to Palestinians

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Announced that they were suspending the development aid payments to Palestinian territories after Hamas launched unprecedented attacks against Israel. However, Copenhagen and Stockholm said that they would maintain humanitarian assistance.

The announcements came a day after the European Commission launched a review of its development aid to the Palestinians.

The government in Copenhagen said in a statement it “has decided to put Danish development assistance to Palestine on hold”.

“A thorough review will be conducted to ensure that no Danish funding is misused to indirectly support terrorist organisations that attack Israel,” it said. 

The review will be conducted “in close dialogue with Denmark’s partners in the EU and the Nordic countries,” it said.

For 2023, Denmark had dedicated 235.5 million kroner ($33.5 million) as humanitarian and development aid for the Palestinian territories.

Approximately 72 million kroner of development aid has yet to be expended. 

“It is this assistance that is now being put on hold,” the statement said.

Sweden also said it was suspending development aid but did not provide any immediate details on the amount.

The Austrian government also announced, on Monday (Oct 9), that it was suspending development aid.

“We will put all development aid payments on ice for the time being,” Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg told public radio Oe1.

Schallenberg also said Austria would review all projects with Palestinian areas and consult with the European Union and its international partners. 

“The scale of the terror is so horrendous. It’s such a fracture that one cannot go back to business as usual,” he added.

He also announced that he would summon the Iranian ambassador to the ministry to address the country’s “abhorrent reactions” to the Hamas attacks over the weekend.

EU halts development aid

The European Union halted development aid to Palestinians and is placing 691 million euros ($728 million) of support “under review” after the Hamas assault on Israel, Brussels said on Monday.

“The scale of terror and brutality against Israel and its people is a turning point. There can be no business as usual,” European Union Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Oliver Varhelyi posted on social media.

“As the biggest donor of the Palestinians, the European Commission is putting its full development portfolio under review, worth a total of EUR 691m,” he added, in a message confirmed as accurate by a commission spokesman.

Oliver Varhelyi said the move meant “all payments immediately suspended. All projects are put under review. All new budget proposals, including for 2023 postponed until further notice. Comprehensive assessment of the whole portfolio.”

EU foreign ministers are scheduled to hold emergency talks on Tuesday over the upsurge of violence between Israel and Gaza.

“Incitement to hatred, violence and glorification of terror have poisoned the minds of too many,” Oliver Varhelyi said. “We need action and we need it now.”

Source : WION

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