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PA: Iraq will contribute to 'Arab safety net'

Jan. 20, 2013 11:42 A.M. (Updated: Jan. 24, 2013 8:34 A.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) -- Iraq has pledged to contribute to the "Arab safety net" of monthly donations to the indebted Palestinian Authority, PA foreign minister Riyad al-Malki said Sunday.

Iraq's foreign minister announced the country will pay into the safety net funds at the Arab Economic and Social Development Summit preparatory meeting on Sunday, al-Malki said.

The PA is cautiously optimistic that the two-day summit in the Saudi capital will result in more contributions. Al-Malki said he expects Qatar and Kuwait to also pay into the safety net.

Any Arab states that don't attend the Riyadh summit will be visited by PA premier Salam Fayyad to encourage their contributions, he said.

The Arab League last year pledged to cover $100 million in monthly expenses to the PA, when Israel seized tax revenues in the aftermath of the UN vote for Palestinian statehood.

Most members have still to pay, but an official said Saturday that Saudi Arabia has decided to contribute $20 million each month.

At the preparatory meeting in Riyadh, the Palestinian delegation briefed members on Palestine's continuing financial crisis, saying recent storms have increased its expenses after $100 million in property losses.

President Mahmoud Abbas is scheduled to arrived in Riyadh on Sunday to attend the summit.

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