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EU donates 19 million euros to help PA pay salaries

Nov. 12, 2012 2:18 P.M. (Updated: Nov. 13, 2012 7:39 P.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- The European Union, Sweden and the Netherlands donated €19 million ($24 million) to the Palestinian Authority on Monday to help pay October salaries and pensions of around 84,200 civil servants, official new agency Wafa reported.

"The European Union is aware of how deep and complex the PA's recent financial crisis is," EU Representative John Gatt-Rutter said.

"In this context, we will continue our financial support and remain one of the most reliable and committed donors in order to secure the PA’s fiscal sustainability and protect its institution-building achievements," he added.

On Sunday, the PA finance ministry announced that it would pay part of salaries owed to public sector employees by the end of the day.

The salaries of prisoners families will be paid completely while public sector employees will receive 52 percent of their salaries, the ministry said in a statement.

On Saturday Israel's finance minister said Israel will stop collecting tax revenues for the Palestinian Authority and will not hand over any money if President Mahmoud Abbas continues to seek observer state membership.

"If the Palestinians continue to advance their unilateral move they should not expect bilateral cooperation. We will not collect their taxes for them and we will not transfer their tax revenues," Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz said.

Interim peace deals task Israel with collecting taxes and customs duties on the Palestinian Authority's behalf amounting to around $100 million a month, on goods imported into the Palestinian territories.

Israel has previously frozen payments to the Palestinian government during times of heightened security and diplomatic tensions, provoking strong international criticism.
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