• Donor states pledge $5.4B to Gaza, urge peace talks


    CAIRO: International donors pledged about $5.4 billion in aid to the devastated Gaza Strip on Sunday and urged Israel and the Palestinians to renew peace efforts.

    The conference in Cairo aimed at financing the reconstruction of swathes of Gaza destroyed in a 50-day July-August war between Israel and Hamas.

    “The participants pledged approximately $5.4 billion (4.3 billion euros),” said Norwegian Foreign Minister Boerge Brende, reading out a closing statement at the conference which Norway co-hosted.

    Gas-rich Qatar led the way with a promise of $1 billion in aid to the coastal enclave.

    US Secretary of State John Kerry said Gaza was facing an “enormous” challenge.

    “The people of Gaza do need our help, desperately, not tomorrow, not next week, they need it now,” Kerry told the gathering of some 30 global envoys.

    Kerry, who failed to broker a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians earlier this year, urged peace talks to prevent renewed violence in the enclave and said the two sides needed to make “tough choices”.

    Arab and European envoys echoed his call.



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