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PA asks Oman for financial assistance

Nov. 7, 2012 7:06 P.M. (Updated: Nov. 8, 2012 6:13 P.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma’an) -- The Palestinian ambassador to Oman met Tuesday with the head of the sultan's office to ask for financial support for the struggling Palestinian Authority.

Luai Issa met Sultan Bin Mohammed Al-Numani and called on the Gulf state to support the Palestinian Authority financially as it prepares to seek an upgraded status at the United Nations.

Issa said the United States and European countries were threatening to stop aid.

Both officials discussed bilateral relations and ways to enhance them, and issues like reconciliation and the UN bid to seek membership in the UN later this month, a statement issued after the meeting said.

Senior members of Israel's cabinet on Tuesday weighed punitive steps that could be taken against the Palestinians if they pursue a campaign to upgrade their status to "observer state" at the United Nations this month.

The upgrade could grant the Palestinians, now registered as an "observer entity", access to bodies such as the International Criminal Court, where they could file complaints against Israel.

Israel and the United States oppose the unilateral move and have called on President Mahmoud Abbas to return to peace talks that collapsed in 2010 over settlement construction in the occupied West Bank.

On Tuesday a senior Israeli official said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's inner circle of ministers reached an agreement in principle on the measures Israel may take if the Palestinians ask the UN for the upgrade.

The Israeli official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that if the Palestinians pushed on with the UN bid, Israel may cancel the Paris Protocol, a key economic accord it maintains with the cash-strapped Palestinian Authority.

Also Tuesday, the Palestinian Authority cabinet said it was paying salaries next week to those making over 1,000 shekels and under 2,000 per month.

The donation of $42 million from the UAE, announced Sunday, will help the PA with payments, but it has many financial obligations alongside public sector salaries.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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