'Without funds we can't survive'

Abbas asks EU to resume aid payments to PA; says will revive peace talks.

Abbas Finland 298 88 (photo credit: AP)
Abbas Finland 298 88
(photo credit: AP)
Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday appealed to the European Union to resume aid payments to the Palestinian Authority, calling it a question of survival. He also said he will approach Israeli leaders with an offer to revive peace talks after they form a new government and called on the European Union to resume aid to the Palestinian Authority. "I think after the establishment of the Israeli government, we will make an initiative to the Israelis to return back to the negotiating table," Abbas told reporters in Helsinki. "We hope that they will be positive." Abbas told reporters in the Finnish capital that he hoped the EU would "continue their aid, ... continue their funds to our people." "Without funds, I don't think that we can survive," Abbas said after meeting Finnish President Tarja Halonen. Earlier this month, the EU cut off direct aid payments to the Hamas-led Palestinian government because of the militant group's refusal to renounce violence and recognize Israel. But, the EU said, it will continue to fund health care, education and other humanitarian projects through international organizations and non-governmental groups. Abbas, who arrived in Helsinki late Wednesday, held talks with Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja and was to meet lawmakers before flying to France for talks on how the international community could resume aid to the Palestinians. A news conference scheduled after his meetings in the Finnish capital was canceled, Foreign Ministry officials said, but added that the Palestinians gave no reason for the cancellation. During a visit to the Norwegian capital on Wednesday, Abbas proposed an international conference to open long-stalled peace talks with Israel, and said the election of a Hamas government, sworn to Israel's destruction, was no obstacle.