UN welcomes USAID-Hamas compromise

Filed on August 15, 2011

JERUSALEM - The United Nations on Sunday welcomed a compromise deal between the Palestinian movement Hamas and the US Agency for International development to maintain the flow of aid in Gaza.

A US official on Friday said USAID was halting humanitarian assistance to the Gaza Strip over alleged meddling by Hamas, which Washington and Israel designate as a terrorist organisation.

But on Saturday a Hamas official said “we’ve reached a compromise with USAID through the United Nations” to allow the continuation of aid.

The crisis erupted after the offices of a USAID-funded non-government organisation, the International Medical Corps, were closed by Hamas because the NGO refused to allow Hamas to verify its accounts.

“UN Special Coordinator Robert Serry welcomes the reopening of International Medical Corps today in Gaza,” a statement from his office said.

It said Serry “recognises the important work of NGOs in Gaza and is confident that a way forward has been reached in the interest of the people of Gaza.”

According to the Hamas official, the compromise was reached after the Palestinian movement agreed to renounce for a “three-month period” its demand to verify the accounts of NGOs financed by USAID.

“We are keen on the continuation of the international institutions’ work and their services to our people,” said the official who took part in the mediated talks.

He said the sides were now working towards an agreement on mechanisms that ensure “transparency and internal accountability of these international organisations.”

There will be “no control over their work,” he added.

A UN official had told AFP on condition of anonymity that the United Nations had “made major efforts to end this crisis and reach a good agreement.”

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