Livni to tell donors Israel backs PA aid

Cooperation to be conditional on security promises; Moscow puts Annapolis follow-up on hold.

livni 224.88 (photo credit: AP)
livni 224.88
(photo credit: AP)
Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni travels to Paris Sunday, where she will attend an international donors conference the next day that is expected to raise $5.6 billion for the Palestinian Authority. Livni is expected to tell delegates that Israel will cooperate with the Palestinian Authority as long as Israeli security is not impaired. Representatives from some 60 states and international organizations are scheduled to attend the Paris conference, and Livni hopes to meet with a number of her counterparts on the sidelines of the gathering, including US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and several Arab foreign ministers. A ministerial-level meeting of the Quartet is also scheduled to take place in the French capital on Monday. Representatives from the US, the UN, the European Union and Russia will meet for the first time since last month's Annapolis Middle East conference. The next round of final-status talks with the Palestinians is due to take place in Jerusalem after the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha, which ends on December 24. Officials in Jerusalem said the talks would take place either in the last week of December or the first week of January. The inaugural post-Annapolis talks took place last week in Jerusalem but concentrated mainly on procedural matters. The atmosphere was far from congenial, with Palestinian delegates attacking Israeli plans to build more than 300 new homes in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Har Homa. Russia, meanwhile, has put on hold plans to host a Middle East peace conference in Moscow as a follow-up to Annapolis. On Friday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told a press conference in Moscow after talks with visiting Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit that "when it comes to the possible Moscow meeting, no one [is] opposed, but preparations must be done before a date [is] fixed." "The most important thing is to try to apply the agreements that were reached [at Annapolis] and not to substitute their implementation with discussions on new meetings," Lavrov added. Officials in Jerusalem said there was no opposition in principle to such a conference, but it was still too early to discuss timing.