East Asian nations to meet on Palestinian aid: report

TOKYO (AFP) - Japan is to host a meeting of Asian countries next week to discuss financial assistance for the Palestinian Authority, a report said Monday.

Ministers from Japan, South Korea and several member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, such as Thailand and Indonesia, will get together on Feb 13 and 14, Kyodo News agency said.

Palestinian prime minister Salam Fayyad is expected to attend the meeting aimed at helping pave the way for resuming direct talks between the Palestinian Authority and Israel, the agency quoted government officials as saying.

No official confirmation of the meeting was available from the Japanese government Monday.

Both Israel and the Palestinian Authority have theoretically committed themselves to an internationally-mediated "road-map to peace" that would see a "two-state solution" with the two peoples living side-by-side within agreed borders.

But direct talks have foundered, with Palestinians decrying ongoing Israeli settlement building on occupied territory and Israel denouncing rocket attacks on its civilians from Gaza, which is controlled by the militant Hamas.

Israel and its ally United States were among just nine countries bucking global support for a resolution giving Palestine non-member status at the United Nations in November.

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