RAMALLAH: ARAB NEWS
Published — Monday 16 July 2012
Last update 16 July 2012 8:34 pm
Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad yesterday hailed an emergency $ 100 million donation received from Saudi Arabia after Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas visited the Kingdom recently.
“Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and the Palestinian people thank Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah after he instructed the Saudi Finance Ministry to transfer $ 100 million to the Palestinian Authority treasury at the request of President Mahmud Abbas,” Fayyad’s office said, according to an AFP report. The money, the office added, would “support the Palestinian Authority and assist them in overcoming the financial crisis they are suffering from.”
Abbas on Friday had asked King Abdullah for emergency financial assistance for his West Bank Palestinian Authority government, which is facing a shortfall that officials have said is the worst in the government’s history. On Friday, the top Palestinian diplomat in Riyadh, Jamal Shobaki, told AFP that the PA’s debts stood at $ 1.5 billion.
Citing statistics from Fayyad’s government, Shobaki said an estimated $ 500 million was needed in urgent aid to tackle the current crisis, which has left the government unable to meet payroll for its employees.
"This $100 million is important and significant because it's coming from a leading Arab state, and this hopefully can be an example for other countries to follow," Ghassan Khatib, a Palestinian government spokesman, told Reuters.
With the Kingdom’s aid offer, Palestinians may hope for an end to the shortfall in pledges by traditional Arab benefactors.
"This generosity added to the track record of financial and political support by the Kingdom," the Palestinian prime minister added.
"This support will have a deep impact in deepening the steadfastness of the Palestinian people," he said.