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Minister: Govt salaries will be paid when Saudi aid arrives

July 16, 2012 7:47 P.M. (Updated: July 25, 2012 10:28 P.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) -- PA Finance Minister Nabil Qassis said Monday that the ministry will pay the remainder of overdue government salaries as soon as pledged aid from Saudi Arabia arrives.

Saudi Arabia agreed to donate $100 million to the Palestinian Authority after President Mahmoud Abbas met the country's king on Friday, amid a severe financial crisis within the West Bank government.

PA officials describe the Saudi payment as imminent.

Qassis thanked Saudi Arabia for their political and financial support of the Palestinian people.

The government has yet to pay full salaries for June, last week providing emergency measures through payments for low-paid employees and partial salaries to others.

Amid a downturn in productive sectors and with its economic and commercial prospects hamstrung by Israeli restrictions, the PA is deeply dependent on foreign aid to pay its bills.

Of a hoped-for $1.1 billion in donor funds in 2011, the Western-backed Authority in Ramallah received just under $750 million.

Several factors coalesced last year to leave the Palestinians out of pocket: a global financial downturn, a freeze in Israeli-managed customs duty as West Bank officials sought unity with Hamas in Gaza, and an aid freeze by the United States following the Palestinian bid for statehood at the United Nations last year.
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