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Qatar calls for $1b Jerusalem support fund

Doha proposes mini Arab summit to reconcile Palestinian factions

  • By Habib Toumi, Bureau Chief
  • Published: 17:16 March 26, 2013
  • Gulf News

Doha: Qatar on Tuesday called for the setting up of a $1 billion (Dh3.67 billion) fund to help Palestinians in occupied Jerusalem.

The proposal was announced by the Emir Shaikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani as he opened the 24th Arab summit in the Qatari capital, Doha.

“The Palestinian, Arab and Islamic rights in [occupied] Jerusalem cannot be compromised and Israel must realise such a fact,” Shaikh Hamad said. “At the same time, Arabs have to leap into prompt and serious action and since, to our deepest regret, the resolutions of the Arab summit in Syrte, Libya, on Jerusalem were not implemented, I propose that this summit, in a move that reflects it is serious about defending the Arab character of Jerusalem and in a bid to save whatever can be saved, established a $1 billion fund to support Jerusalem,” he said.

The implementation should not be procrastinated and should be implemented promptly, the Emir whose country hosts the Arab summit for the second time, said.

“I announce that Qatar will contribute $250 million to the fund and the remaining amount should be paid by the other Arab countries. I suggest that the Islamic Development Bank should manage the fund,” he said.

Shaikh Hamad also proposed a mini Arab summit in the Egyptian capital Cairo “as soon as possible” to help reconcile the Palestinians.

“The summit will be chaired by Egypt and will be open to all countries to attend alongside the leaders of Fatah and Hamas,” he said, referring to the two major Palestinian factions.

“This mini summit will ensure Palestinian national reconciliation according to practical steps based on a clear and specific timetable, the 2011 accords in Cairo and the 2012 agreements in Doha,” he said.

The reconciliation should include the formation of a transitional government made up of independent ministers to oversee the legislative and presidential elections and an agreement on a date for the elections, Shaikh Hamad said.

The Qatari emir welcomed the participation of the Syrian National Coalition and the provisional government in the annual pan-Arab meeting.

“They do deserve to represent the Syrian people after they have won the domestic popular legitimacy and the international backing,” he said. “They now assume a historic role in leading the revolution and in preparing to build the new Syria.”

“We do stress our keenness on Syria’s territorial integrity and national unity. This is a moral and historic responsibility that we should all assume and no one should shirk it,” Shaikh Hamad said.

Muath Al Khatib, leader of the National Coalition, whose participation in the summit eclipsed all the other issues following a disagreement between member countries over his status, thanked in a passionate speech all the countries that supported the opposition.

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