Britain offers aid if Mideast talks make progress

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said on Wednesday he would offer a $500 million aid package to the Palestinian West Bank and Gaza Strip if U.S.-led talks this month make progress towards Middle East peace.Describing the upcoming conference on Palestinian statehood, due to be held in Annapolis, Maryland in late November, as a “unique opportunity”, Brown said he hoped a framework document could be drawn up as a basis for talks over the next year.

“If we can see tangible progress on security, then we, the United Kingdom, would be prepared to put a $500 million package of aid into the area, so that economic reconstruction can take place,” he said.

“And we will call on the rest of the European Union and America to join us in making it possible for us to show that prosperity can result from abandoning the violence of the past.”

A spokesman for the Foreign Office said the package would be worth up to 243 million pounds over three years, “dependent on tangible progress towards peace in the region”.

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