Erekat calls for US to release funds

PLO official Saeb Erekat.

JERICHO (Ma’an) — PLO official Saeb Erekat called on Saturday for the US to release $200 million in aid to the Palestinian Authority amid the government’s financial crisis.

Speaking with UN envoy Robert H. Serry and new US Consul General Michael Ratney, Erekat said the failure of donor funds to arrive was behind the economic difficulties facing Palestine, official news agency Wafa reported.

Palestinians have taken to the streets in mass demonstrations against price rises and unemployment this week.

Erekat called on all countries to follow through on their financial commitments to the Palestinian Authority.

The US Congress held back financial aid to the PA in 2011 after Palestine submitted a membership bid to the UN, which was opposed by the US and Israel, before releasing it earlier this year.

The US government criticized the congressional hold, and the state department said in August it was working with Congress to enable $200 million budget support for 2012.

(www.maannews.net / 08.09.2012)

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