Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad 311 (R).(Photo by: REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman)
'Financial crisis doesn't mean we’re not ready for state'
By KHALED ABU TOAMEH
Fayyad says only $331m. of $970m. promised to gov't was received; Abed Rabbo accuses Arab countries of not meeting their pledges.
Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said on Wednesday that the severe financial crisis his government is facing does not mean the Palestinians are ill-prepared for statehood.
His announcement came as the PA civil servants received only half of their salaries due to the financial crisis.
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Fayyad said he would continue his efforts to solve the crisis.
“This decision was taken because of the growing financial crisis in the PA over the past year,” Fayyad said. He attributed the crisis to the failure of donor countries to meet their financial commitments to the PA.
Fayyad said the PA had received only $331 million of the $970m. promised by donors, including some Arab countries.
He said it was ironic that the current crisis had come at a time when the PA government had succeeded in reducing its reliance on foreign aid by almost half – from $1.8 billion in 2008 to $970m. this year.
“The crisis does not undermine or cast doubt on our preparedness for the establishment of the state,” Fayyad stressed.
“There are many countries that face difficulties and deficits that oblige them to take measures to overcome their financial crises. Palestine is not an exception. On the contrary, we are a people living under occupation and suffering from division and its repercussions.”
Fayyad voiced hope that the Arab countries would help the Palestinians overcome the crisis.
PLO Secretary-General Yasser Abed Rabbo said the financial crisis in the PA was “unprecedented” and accused the Arab countries of failing to meet their pledges to help the Palestinians.
Abed Rabbo told the PA’s Voice of Palestine radio station that the Palestinians were surprised by the Arab countries’ failure to assist them.
“The situation has become very complicated for the Palestinian Authority because of the failure of the Arab countries to fulfill their financial promises,” he said. “This is regretful.”
Abed Rabbo said the crisis would not prevent the PA from proceeding with its plan to ask the United Nations in September to recognize a Palestinian state along the pre-1967 lines.
He said the PA was convinced it couldn’t rely on negotiations “to end the occupation because Israel does not want negotiations.”
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