Saudis to transfer $92 million to PA

Previous commitments for aid from Iran, Qatar, Russia reach over $200 million.

mashaal 298 with russian (photo credit: AP [file])
mashaal 298 with russian
(photo credit: AP [file])
Saudi Arabia announced Tuesday that they would transfer $92 million in aid to the Palestinian Authority. Their declaration of support for the PA comes after Russia said it would transfer $10 million, Iran $50 million, and Qatar an additional $50 million for a total of over $200 million. After meeting with Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal, PA Foreign Minister Mahmoud Zahar said that the Saudis had agreed to give $92 million in aid to the Palestinians. He added that at the meeting the two had also discussed the collapsing Palestinian economy and ways of ending the new Hamas-led government's current international isolation, Israel Radio reported. Earlier Tuesday, mainline Russian newspaper Izbastya reported that a meeting between a Russian foreign ministry official and PA Finance Minister Omar Abad al-Razek led to an agreement regarding the transfer of funds to the PA's coffers, according to Army Radio. The Russian foreign ministry has avoided commenting to news agencies on the matter. The Hamas cabinet is under immense pressure to pay salaries to more than 140,000 civil servants, who are still waiting for their March payments. Policemen in the Gaza Strip have threatened to attack several government buildings on Monday to protest the failure to pay their salaries. Last week dozens of masked policemen occupied a number of public buildings in the southern Gaza Strip. Both the US and the EU have decided to cut off aid to the Hamas-led government until it ceases its support for terror attacks and recognizes Israel's legitimacy. "The Palestinian people do have legitimate humanitarian needs," said White House Spokesman Sean McCormack. But, he added, assistance should be "channeled in such a way that it does not provide any material benefit or support to a Hamas-led government." While cutting off any direct US aid to the Palestinian government, the Bush administration intends to contribute about $600 million in the next few years to Palestinian humanitarian projects.