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PA finance minister meets Israeli counterpart

June 16, 2013 12:38 P.M. (Updated: July 6, 2013 7:10 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Newly-appointed Palestinian Authority finance minister Shukri Bishara met his Israeli counterpart Yaer Lapid in Jerusalem, the PA announced Sunday.

The two discussed reactivating the specialized joint technical committees which Israel unilaterally suspended in November 2012, a statement issued by the PA government press office read.

The committees were set up as part of the Oslo Accords to deal with issues such as clearing, crossings, fuel, medical referrals, electricity, water and telecommunications.

Bishara and Lapid also discussed accumulated debts the PA owes to Israel's Electricity Company, as well as tax revenues Israel collects on behalf of the PA.

A statement from Lapid's office said that Sunday's meeting was taking place "in coordination" with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

In March, Israel said it would restart regular monthly tax transfers to the Palestinian Authority, which it withheld in response to President Mahmoud Abbas' successful UN upgrade bid.

At the time, Israel said it would be making decisions on the revenue transfers on a monthly basis.

Bishara, a banker and economist, was sworn in to the 15th Palestinian government headed by Rami Hamdallah on June 6, replacing former premier and finance minister Salam Fayyad.

On Saturday Hamdallah vowed to boost Palestinian development and to overcome the current financial crisis in Palestine "caused by practices of the Israeli occupation which impede development."

His comments were made during an official visit to the West Bank city of Jericho.

AFP contributed to this report
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