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EU contributes €22.5 million to pay PA salaries

Aug. 2, 2011 12:50 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 2, 2011 10:56 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- The European Union announced Tuesday that it would contribute €22.5 million to help the Palestinian Authority pay July salaries and pensions for around 83,000 Palestinian public service workers and pensioners.

The EU announced that the money would be channeled through PEGASE, the European mechanism for support to the Palestinians, a statement said.

"This is a clear message of our solid commitment toward the Palestinian people at this critical time" said Christian Berger, the EU representative.

"We join our voice to PM [Salam] Fayyad and call on other donors to respect and fulfill their commitments to the PA to ensure that the Palestinian people will continue to receive the essential services and the progress that been achieved by the Palestinian Authority so far is sustained."

The €22.5 million contribution comes from the overall €145 million financial package in direct support to the Palestinian Authority budget of 2011, which the European Union agreed to advance at the request of Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad in order to meet the needs of the PA at a time of financial crisis.

The Palestinian Authority's public accountant Yousef Al-Zomer had said that government employees' salaries would be paid on Monday.

Fayyad had redirected all funds to salaries because August was the holy month of Ramadan, which entailed extra expenses, Al-Zomer added.

The PA employs about 170,000 people in the West Bank and Gaza, where its employees continue to receive salaries even though the Hamas government has replaced them with its own civil servants.

The West Bank government has been warning for months now that it faces an impending financial crunch because of the failure of donors, especially Arab countries, to fulfill their financial commitments.
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