The United States has quietly unblocked almost $500 million in aid to the Palestinian Authority which had been frozen by Congress for months, a top US official said Friday.
The news that the funds had finally been freed up came after US President Barack Obama met top Israeli and Palestinian leaders in a landmark visit to Israel and the West Bank earlier this week.
“To date, we have moved $295.7 million in fiscal year 2012 moneyâ€¦ and $200 million in fiscal year 2013 assistance,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters.
The Obama administration also notified Congress in late February that it was seeking a further $200 million to fund US Agency for International Development (USAID) programs for the Palestinians, she said.
The first sum comprises some $195.7 million, allocated under the 2012 fiscal year budget for USAID economic, development and humanitarian assistance, as well as a further $100 million earmarked specifically for narcotics control.
The second sum of $200 million unblocked and available to the Palestinian Authority will come under the 2013 budget and be spent for direct budget support.
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