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Last Updated: Tuesday, 10 April 2007, 17:53 GMT 18:53 UK
US Congress approves Abbas funds
Abbas security forces on parade
Some US lawmakers were concerned funds might end up in the wrong hands
The US Congress has authorised $60m (30.4m) in funds to improve the state of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's security staff.

"We are good to go ... we have addressed Congress's concerns," a senior State Department official was quoted by news agency Reuters.

The funds could be spent on Abbas's presidential guard, security at border crossings and equipment.

Several lawmakers had held up the request from the Bush administration.

Israeli 'understanding'

The State Department was reportedly notified by Congress that the funds had been cleared on Monday.

"This has also been done with Israeli agreement and understanding," the State Department official was quoted by Reuters as saying.

The sum reportedly includes $14.5m for "basic and advanced training," $23m for non-lethal equipment, $2.9m for upgrade facilities and $3m to provide "capacity building and technical assistance" for the office of Abbas's national security advisor.

Last month, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told a congressional committee $36m (18m; 27m euros) would be cut from a proposed $86m package for Mr Abbas' National Security Forces.

The revised plan, she said, would request less money "precisely because some of the money that I would have requested I did not think I could fully account for".

Correspondents said the move was a sign of America's nervousness at the power-sharing deal between Hamas and the more moderate Fatah movement.

The US has said it will boycott members of the Palestinian government who belong to Hamas, which it regards as a terrorist group.






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