Palestinian FM: Aid funds being distributed

A new PLO account established to bypass an international boycott of Hamas has begun disbursing tens of millions of foreign aid, including partial salaries for Palestinian civil servants, the new Palestinian finance minister said in an interview Sunday. The fund was established in mid-May as a channel for foreign aid, said Finance Minister Salam Fayyad, an independent. Hamas is not a member of the PLO, the Palestinians' political umbrella group. The new arrangement allows for funds to be transferred to the PLO account, without banks violating US anti-terror regulations. The US and European Union have branded Hamas a terrorist group. Money received so far includes $50 million (€37.2 million) from Saudi Arabia, $44 million (€32.8 million) from Qatar, $10 million (€7.4 million) from Norway and - most recently - $80 million (€59.5 million) from the United Arab Emirates, Fayyad said.