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Abbas arrives in Saudia Arabia for economic summit
By KHALED ABU TOAMEH
01/21/2013
PA president, joined by other senior figures, expected to use gathering to ask for urgently needed financial aid.
 
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas arrived in Saudi Arabia on Sunday to attend the Third Arab Economic, Social and Developmental Summit.

At the summit, Arab leaders are expected to discuss economic and social issues in their countries, including railway land linkage, increase of investment, trade and aviation.

Abbas will seize the opportunity to renew his call on Arab countries to provide the Palestinians with urgent financial aid, a PA official in Ramallah said.

Arab League members have thus far failed to fulfill their promise to give the PA $100 million each month in compensation for Israel’s decision to confiscate Palestinians’ tax revenues to pay their debt to the Israel Electric Corporation.

Last week, Saudi Arabia announced that it would give the PA $100m. in emergency aid to help it pay salaries to more than 100,000 Palestinian public employees.

Abbas is accompanied by PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, Foreign Minister Riad al- Malki and Finance Minister Nabil Qassis.

The PA government has been unable to pay full salaries to its employees for the past two months due to the severe financial crisis it has been facing.

On the eve of Abbas’s visit to Saudi Arabia, the Palestinian public employees’ union declared a general strike Wednesday to protest against the failure of the PA government to pay full salaries.
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