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US Pledges Funds for Security Forces of Palestinian President


The United States has pledged about $60 million to help strengthen Palestinian security measures.

State Department officials say $43 million will help fund the security forces of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. The aid will also be spent on security at the main commercial gateway between Israel and the Gaza Strip.

Also Tuesday, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas says he will meet next week with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, following a recent pledge by the two leaders to hold talks every two weeks.

And Palestinian officials say they are waiting for Israel's response to a proposal to release hundreds of Palestinian prisoners in exchange for Israeli Corporal Gilad Shalit. He was captured by Palestinian gunmen last year.

The prisoner list includes Palestinian uprising leader Marwan Barghouti and the head of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Ahmad Saadat.

State Department officials say the decision to provide aid for Palestinian security was made after members of Congress dropped their objections to the deal.

Some U.S. lawmakers had opposed the funding over fears it could reach Hamas, which the United States considers a terrorist group.

Last month, Hamas formed a Palestinian unity government with Mr. Abbas's Fatah faction.

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