Saudi Arabia has promised to transfer USD 92.4 million in aid to the Hamas-led government, Palestinian Foreign Minister and Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Zahar said Wednesday after a meeting with his Saudi counterpart in Jeddah.
Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal who had announced the kingdom's commitment to funneling aid to the Palestinian Authority during the Arab League Summit in Khartoum in March, confirmed the fund transfer on Wednesday during a joint press conference with al-Zahar.
The two men discussed the dire financial situation of the Palestinian Authority and its demands for Arab aid exceeding the amount promised
Al-Faisal promised to pass on Palestinian demands for more aid to King Abdullah, al-Zahar said.
The cash-strapped Palestinian Authority has been facing a financial crisis since Hamas' victory in the legislative elections in January. The inauguration of the Hamas-led government in March prompted the United States and the European Union to cut off aid to the Palestinian Authority in a bid to pressure Hamas to recognize Israel and renounce violence.
Israel decided to halt the transfer of tax rebates and customs it collects on behalf of the Palestinians soon after Hamas was confirmed as winners of the election.
"We thank those who want to give us financial aid, but we will not give up our national interests in return for this aid," al-Zahar said.
Asked about Jordan's decision to cancel his planned visit to Amman over accusations that Hamas smuggled weapons to the kingdom, al-Zahar seemed particularly careful.
"Our relations with Jordan do not depend on the cancellation of a visit. I can't say what led them to cancel the visit. I assure that Hamas hasn't stored weapons in any Arab country," he said.
On Thursday, al-Zahar will arrive in Syria. A trip of Arab countries will take him to Qatar, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates.
On May 23 he is set to visit Malaysia and China.