Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Amo, Hamas, Amat: Clarification

Peter MacKay's ready-fire-aim style is going to be a continuing problem at Foreign Affairs. While it may lower his stature as a potential successor to Stephen Harper, it will not help raise Canada's overseas.

Witness his latest backdown about continuing Canadian foreign aid to the Palestinian Authority:

Foreign Affairs Minister Peter MacKay tried to get Ottawa's Middle Eastern policy back in sync yesterday with a clarification saying Canadian aid to the Palestinian Authority is still under review and is subject to conditions set by Prime Minister Stephen Harper last month.

His written statement was issued one day after the new Conservative minister said "some Canadian aid will continue" to the Palestinian Authority on the basis of third-party assurances from Russia that the money would not be diverted for military purposes or to finance terrorism by Hamas.


Mr. MacKay's statement also reiterated conditions set out by Mr. Harper: A new Palestinian government must renounce violence, recognize Israel and accept previous agreements and obligations, including an outline for Middle East peace known as the "road map."

At a joint news conference Monday, visiting Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that Hamas had agreed in a Moscow meeting to international monitoring of aid programs to make sure aid money isn't siphoned off for military purposes.

Mr. MacKay said Monday that Mr. Lavrov's report was encouraging.

"International monitoring can ensure that the money is going to the Palestinian people, that it is reaching its destination, that it will not be subverted or perverted."

Neither minister elaborated on who would conduct the monitoring or how it would be done.

Perhaps Sheila Fraser could follow the money trail?

But seriously folks:

Hamas would sooner annihilate every last Palestinian than renounce violence or recognize Israel. On that basis, Harper's conditions for continued foreign aid funding sound like a pretext for cutting it off entirely. And perhaps encouraging others to follow suit.

Cut off the money and they might actually have to solve their problems.

Source: Globe and Mail

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