P.A. Leader Pleads for More Financial Assistance

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Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad asked Arab League member nations in Cairo on Tuesday to make good on pledged financial aid, the Ma'an News Agency reported.

Arab League members agreed the P.A. should receive $330 million every six months.

"The importance of the meeting is that it has become urgent that the Arab countries meet their financial obligations, particularly given the looming possibility that the Palestinian Authority will be unable to pay salaries for this current month and the next one, which is Ramadan," P.A. Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki said beforehand.

At the emergency meeting, convened at the request of P.A. President Mahmoud Abbas, Fayyad said the P.A. needed $300 million to "overcome the bottleneck and deal with the financial crisis."

Fayyad told participants they'd received $331 million in 2011 -- of which $79 million came from Arab countries -- plus an additional $30 million from Saudi Arabia.

Earlier this month, Fayyad announced that government workers would receive half pay until the situation is resolved.

In May, Fayyad said the P.A. was not receiving foreign aid quickly enough -- particularly from Arab countries -- to cover its needs.

"The government has decided to pay employees half their salary due to the financial crisis that the Palestinian Authority is experiencing because of the failure of donors," Fayyad said, "including our Arab brothers, to fulfill their pledges.

"If this crisis continues, the government will have to take additional austerity measures," Fayyad said, adding that the aid received so far covered about one-third of the government's needs.

The Palestinian Authority depends largely on foreign aid in addition to tax revenues that Israel collects and transfers to the P.A.

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