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Japan plans major aid program for Middle East

Would compensate Palestinians
hurt by Iraqi missiles targetting Israel

Sunday, March 16, 2003

LONDON Egypt, Jordan and Turkey would be the major beneficiaries of a aid program drafted by Japan for the Middle East.

The Palestinian Authority is also included as the plan would provided compensation for collateral damage caused by Iraqi missiles aimed at Israel.

Under the program, Japanese officials said the program would amount to about $1.3 billion and would be implemented in wake of any war against Iraq.

Japan has the lion's share of projects and investments in the Arab world and it totally dependent on imports for its oil supply .

Under the program, officials said, Turkey would receive the most aid $900 million. This would be followed by $250 million for Jordan and $150 million for Egypt.

Other beneficiaries being considered are Syria, which would receive $20 million. The Palestinian Authority is being designated to receive $10 million. Lebanon could eventually benefit from Japanese aid, officials said.

Officials said there are no plans to offer Israel any funding. The PA is included in the plan, officials said, because of the prospect that it might be accidentally be attacked by Iraqi missiles aimed toward Israel. Officials said the money allocated to the PA would be designated to help Palestinian refugees.

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