Sweden to pledge extra money to Palestinians

Carin Jamtin said Sweden has already donated 230 million kronor (US$32 million, Ђ25 million) to the Palestinians through the U.N. Relief and Works Agency, UNRWA, but is likely to also match last year's emergency donation of 92 million kronor (US$13 million, Ђ10 million).

Jamtin said after meeting with UNRWA head Karen AbuZayd in Stockholm that she was not sure of the exact figure to be donated.

AbuZayd said her agency has already received more than half of the emergency funds requested from international donors, and thanked Scandinavian governments for being generous.

Norway announced last week it would increase its donation to 150 million kroner (US$24.5 million, Ђ19.2 million) after officials held meetings with AbuZayd, the AP reports.

"Sweden and Norway rescued UNRWA, while the other governments were thinking (about) what to do ... when the new (Hamas-led) government took power," she said.

After the militant Islamic group Hamas recently won Palestinian elections and formed a government, the occupied Gaza Strip and West Bank were plunged into an economic crisis as aid and transfers were cut off.

The so-called Quartet of donors - the United States, United Nations, European Union and Russia - on Tuesday eased their stance on cutting off aid to Palestinians, agreeing to funnel aid directly to the Palestinian people and bypass Hamas, which is listed as a terrorist organization by the U.S. and the EU.