Palestinian official: Abbas to seek financial loan from Arab countries at Cairo meeting



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A senior Palestinian official said on Saturday that President Mahmoud Abbas would ask Arab countries at a meeting of their foreign ministers on Tuesday in the Egyptian capital Cairo for a financial loan to help the Palestinian Authority deal with its financial crisis.

"The request for a loan and the call to activate the Arab security net comes in the context of attempts to overcome the financial crisis and not succumb to Israeli blackmail," the official said, asking not to be identified.

The official Palestinian news agency said Abbas arrived in Cairo on Saturday to attend the Arab League Council meeting at the level of Arab foreign ministers on Sunday after Palestine's invitation to meet in an emergency.

The agency quoted Abbas's diplomatic adviser Majdi Khalidi as saying that among the things to be discussed at the meeting were "to activate the Arab financial security network to support the Palestinian budget, especially in the light of the holding of Israeli funds to compensate for about two months. "

In the past two months, the Palestinian Authority has refused to receive Israeli tax revenues from goods entering the Palestinian market for a 3% commission after deducting part of the funds, which are paid to the families of martyrs and held in their prisons .

The Palestinian Authority relies on fiscal resources raised by Israel for Palestinian products, known as "compensation", in addition to local taxes and aid from Arab countries and donors in paying their financial obligations.

Over the past two months, the Palestinian Authority has been able to pay half the salaries of its civilian and military officials.

"As Ramadan approaches, next month, a higher proportion of the salaries of officials will have to be paid so they can fulfill their obligations to their families," the official said.

Details of the resources for which half of the salaries were paid to government officials could not be obtained. The official page of the Ministry of Finance states that "due to the Emergency Law and legal dependencies with the Israeli side, financial reports have been temporarily suspended" .

A World Bank report released on Wednesday said that "the release proceeds Israel collects for Palestinians and are transferred monthly to the Palestinian Authority are equivalent to 65% of total PA revenue."

"If this crisis is not resolved, the financing gap will increase from $ 400 million in 2018 to over $ 1 billion in 2019," the report said.

The Palestinian government said at its first meeting, led by Mohammad Echtia last week, that it called a meeting of donor countries on April 30 to discuss the financial crisis experienced by the Palestinian Authority.

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