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¥800 million in grant aid pledged to Palestinians

Kyodo, AFP-JIJI

Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida has pledged that Japan will provide ¥800 million in grant aid to the Palestinian Authority for infrastructure development in the territories it controls, a government official said.

In a meeting Wednesday evening with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah, the capital of the West Bank, Kishida also called on the authority to refrain from unilateral action so that stalled peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians can resume, the official said.

Kishida suggested the Palestinian Authority should halt its attempt to seek statehood by applying for membership in international organizations, according to the official.

Last week, the Israelis and Palestinians reached a basic deal to revive the peace discussions for the first time since fall 2010.

Earlier Wednesday, Kishida visited Jerusalem and held talks with Israeli President Shimon Peres, who agreed on the need to recommence the peace negotiations, the official said.

Kishida asked that Israel cease its settlement activities in occupied territory claimed by the Palestinians.