News

EU Approves Humanitarian Aid for Palestinians

Lisa Bryant

The European Union approved new humanitarian aid to the Palestinians Friday, as leaders of the 25-member block ended a two-day summit in Brussels. The meeting also tackled issues like the stalled European constitution and expansion.

The European Union's new emergency aid package for the Palestinians amounts to about $126 million. An EU spokeswoman told reporters in Brussels it will be paid through a new funding mechanism that starts operating next month, and will bypass the Hamas government.

Both the EU and the United States suspended aid to the Palestinian territories, through normal mechanisms, as long as Hamas refuses to renounce terrorism, embrace the peace process and recognize the state of Israel. Israel also suspended customs and tax revenues to the Palestinian Authority. Many Palestinians - along with their government - are now having a hard time making ends meet.

Earlier this week, Israel's new prime minister, Ehud Olmert, toured Europe to drum up support for Israel's planned withdrawal from much of the West Bank. But the idea got a cool reception.

During a news conference in Brussels Friday, Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik of Austria, which holds the rotating EU presidency, called instead for dialogue between the Israelis and Palestinians.

"We have always expressed our reserves about unilateral measures that might endanger such a negotiated solution. And this is the line of the European Union. There is no intention to change it," she said.

European leaders also delayed plans to revive the European constitution, which was rejected by voters in France and the Netherlands last year. But they remained optimistic on another issue - admitting new members in the future. Still, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso told reporters that Turkey's potential membership was particularly problematic.

"It would be completely wrong to contend that this is not a huge challenge. But I said it in a positive way. Because, if you want to succeed, you have to make an effort - on the European side, but also on the Turkish side," he said.

European leaders expressed concern about reported remarks by Turkish Prime Minister Recept Tayyip Erdogan. On Friday, Mr. Erdogan apparently rejected opening Ankara's ports to shipping from the divided island of Cyprus, if there were no concessions for Turkish Cypriots. The EU has made trade with Cyprus and other members a precondition for possible membership.

Another summit takes place in Austria next week between the EU and President Bush. European officials say they will raise their concerns about the Guantanamo prison camp during those talks.

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs