Rice Chides Arab Stinginess

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US Secretary Of State Condi Rice

Regardless of how one feels about this administration's handling of Middle Eastern affairs, or the practicality of a Palestinian state, it's good news and orange juice to go with your breakfast when the oil-crippled United States government actually criticizes the grappling oil-rich Arabs for anything.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice yesterday chided Arab countries for not helping the Palestinians financially to establish a viable state, and she accused some states of trying to get away with giving as little aid as possible.

Rice, beginning a trip focused mostly on the Middle East, also said that it is too early to "despair" about missing the Bush administration"s year-end deadline for reaching a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians.

"States that have resources ought to be looking not for how little they can do, but how much they can do," she said when asked about the limited Arab support for the Palestinians in a briefing to reporters on her way to London.

They "need to put those resources to use now in order to lay the groundwork for the establishment of a [Palestinian] state," the secretary said, although she did not name specific countries to avoid being seen as pointing fingers.

In addition to "budget support" for the Palestinian Authority, help is needed to implement a "broad national plan" drawn up by Prime Minister Salaam Fayad and his Cabinet, which was presented in Paris, she said.

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