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Sunday, December 9, 2012
[Mark your calendars] Arab states to commit on details of $100 million monthly payment schedule to PA by 24 December

"The mechanism is that the chair of the committee (Qatar) and the
secretary-general will contact each country with the exact amount they have
to pay," Elaraby told Reuters after the meeting. "I said I want an answer in
15 days," he added.

Arab states to provide PA with $100 million monthly
Published yesterday (updated) 09/12/2012 23:33
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=546373

DOHA (Reuters) -- Arab states agreed to provide the Palestinian Authority
with a $100 million monthly "financial safety net" to help President Mahmoud
Abbas's government cope with an economic crisis after the United Nations
granted de facto statehood to Palestine.

Israel has responded to the Nov. 29 UN vote by ordering 3,000 Jewish settler
homes be built in the occupied West Bank and announced it would hold back
payments of customs duties it collects on behalf of the Palestinians to pay
an outstanding electricity bill.

In a statement on Sunday after a meeting in Doha, Arab foreign ministers
called for the immediate implementation of a resolution passed at an Arab
summit in Baghdad in March, which called for the provision of a $100 million
monthly safety net.

The statement did not give details of how the money would be paid or who
would pay, but Arab League Secretary-General Nabil Elaraby said a mechanism
has been agreed.

"The mechanism is that the chair of the committee (Qatar) and the
secretary-general will contact each country with the exact amount they have
to pay," Elaraby told Reuters after the meeting. "I said I want an answer in
15 days," he added.

Israel and the United States opposed the UN General Assembly's upgrade of
the Palestinians' status to "non-member state", saying Abbas should instead
resume peace talks that collapsed in 2010 over Israeli settlement-building.

The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund said in September that a
gathering crisis in the Palestinian economy would worsen unless foreign
funding increased and Israel eased long-standing curbs on development.

In a separate report, the World Bank also forecast a $1.5 billion
Palestinian budget deficit for 2012, with donor funds expected to cover only
$1.14 billion of this shortfall.

Last Thursday, the Palestinian cabinet said at a meeting in Ramallah that
$240 million were needed every month to meet demands arising from the
Israeli decision to stop customs revenues transfers and the failure of
donors to transfer previously pledged funds.

The Palestinian Authority exercises limited self-rule in the West Bank and
receives most of its aid from the United States, the European Union and Arab
states.

But over the past several years there has been a shortfall in aid coming
from Arab states resulting in the PA being unable to pay salaries to its
153,000 civil servants on time on several occasions. The administration has
yet to pay November salaries following Israel's decision to withhold money
transfers.

The Arab ministers also called for convening of a donors' conference to
discuss ways to support the Palestinian people in the West Bank and discuss
reconstruction in the Gaza Strip.

Qatar's ruler, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, pledged $400 million to
help develop Gaza during a visit there in October.

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