Arab ministers to meet on PA budget crunch

July 15, 2012 04:55

PA President Mahmoud Abbas met with Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah and urged him to help solve the crisis.

1 minute read.

Arab League headquarters in Cairo

Arab League headquarters in Cairo 370. (photo credit:REUTERS)

Arab League foreign ministers are scheduled to hold an emergency meeting in Doha, Qatar, on July 22 to discuss the PA’s severe financial crisis.

The move comes at the request of the Palestinian Authority.

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PA President Mahmoud Abbas met on Friday with Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah and urged him to help solve the crisis, chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said.

Erekat did not say whether Saudi Arabia had agreed to support the PA financially.

He described the crisis as the worst since the establishment of the PA nearly 20 years ago.

The PA envoy to Saudi Arabia, Jamal Shobaki, estimated the PA government’s debts at $1.5 billion.

He said that to overcome the crisis, the PA was in urgent need of at least $500 million.

PA employees last week received only 60 percent of their salaries for June – a move that has triggered widespread discontent among Palestinians with the PA leadership.

A PA official in Ramallah said Abbas was also scheduled to visit Qatar and Egypt later this week for talks about the financial crisis.

In Cairo, Abbas will meet with newly elected President Mohamed Mursi for the first time, the official said, noting that the meeting will take place on Wednesday.

The official warned that the failure of Arab and Western donors to keep their financial pledges was “threatening to bring down the Palestinian Authority.”

“We are on the brink of bankruptcy. Without urgent aid, we won’t be able to provide any services.

If we go down, Hamas will take over the West Bank,” he added.

Ahmed Assaf, a top Fatah official, claimed on Saturday that Hamas was anyway plotting to extend its control from the Gaza Strip to the West Bank.

He said Hamas was inciting its supporters in the West Bank against the PA and that the Fatah-dominated security forces had been placed on high alert to foil the Islamist movement’s scheme.

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