EU expected to approve aid for caretaker PA gov't

The EU is expected to approve the release of around $107,000 next week to help Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas' caretaker administration, diplomats said Friday, but will postpone a decision on further aid after Hamas takes power. Options the bloc's foreign ministers are considering include $48 million in new aid to help run utilities such as power supply and waste collection, and authorizing the World Bank to unblock around $60 million to pay salaries of Palestinian Authority employees. The money is designed to keep the Palestinian Authority afloat after Israel's decision to withhold $50 million a month in tax funds following Hamas' election victory. "The concept is to be able to help the Palestinian people, to be able to help the Palestinian Authority during this transition period," said EU spokeswoman Cristina Gallach, who declined to give details of what the ministers may decide Monday. EU officials said there would be no decision at Monday's meeting on funding to the Palestinians after a Hamas government takes power.