The Egyptian president Al-Sissi is seated between Palestinian president Abbas and the Norwegian foreign minister Brende during the opening of the conference. (Photo: Reuters)
A donor conference in Cairo to raise money to aid the Gaza Strip after
this year's war between Hamas and Israel ended with pledges of $5.4 billion. Norway's foreign minister Borge Brende, who co-chaired the one-day
meeting with Egypt, said pledges of $5.4 billion have been made, but
that only $2.7 billion of that money would be dedicated to the
reconstruction of the coastal strip. Brende did not say what the other
half of the funds would be spent on. Other delegates have spoken of
budgetary support, boosting economic activity, emergency relief and
other projects.Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has sought $4 billion for Gaza's recovery.
Qatar pledged $1 billion toward the reconstruction, the United Arab Emirates promised $200 million. Saudi Arabia pledged $500 million about a month ago. At the beginning of the conference, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry pledged $212 million in immediate assistance, aying that the residents of the Gaza Strip "need our help, desperately." Kerry said the new U.S. money, which takes American aid to the Palestinians to more than $400 million this year, would go to security, economic development, food and medicine, shelter and water and sanitation projects.France said it would contribute $50.5 million to the Palestinians,Germany announced it would contribute $63 million, and the British ambassador to Egypt, John Casson, told Reuters London would provide $32 million for reconstruction.