US backs Cairo conference to assist Palestinians

The United States on Wednesday night expressed its strong support for Egypt's call for an international donors' conference in Cairo on March 2 to facilitate Gaza recovery and strengthen the Palestinian economy. The State Department said in a statement that that the US plans to be represented at a high level and urged members of the international community to show similar support for the Egyptian initiative. The statement went on to say that the US viewed the conference as an opportunity to address the immediate humanitarian suffering in Gaza and support the Palestinian Authority's plan for the reconstruction of the Strip as an integral part of a future Palestinian state. The State Department also welcomed Egypt's Gaza cease-fire efforts and expressed hope that the United States and other members of the international community would be able to provide substantial levels of assistance to Gazans.