Australia pledges $6 million to Palestinians


Australia pledged $6 million in aid to the Palestinians.

Foreign Minister Stephen Smith, on a one-day visit to the region Tuesday, told Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad Al-Malki in Ramallah that the funds were the final installment of the $28 million pledged by Australia at the donors’ conference in Paris last December.

Smith also visited the Kalandia refugee camp in the West Bank.

Earlier in the day he met Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Kadima leader Tzipi Livni and Likud leader Benjamin  Netanyahu.

Olmert praised Australia’s government for ramping up sanctions against Iran. He said after the meeting that Australia was an example of a nation that took action while others talked about the danger of a nuclear Iran.

Australia imposed financial and travel sanctions against Iran two weeks ago, and specifically targeted 20 Iranian individuals and 18 organizations that contribute to Iran’s nuclear program.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd had pledged to take legal action against Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in The Hague but backtracked after receiving legal advice.

Smith, the first minister in the new Labor government to visit the Jewish state, also laid a wreath at Yad Vashem.


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