Fayyad poised to submit resignation

RAMALLAH (AFP) — Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad is to present his resignation to President Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday, a senior Palestinian official said.

Abbas and Fayyad are known to have been at odds over a raft of issues but their relationship took a nose dive last month when Fayyad accepted his finance minister’s resignation only for it to be rejected by Abbas.

“There will be a meeting between Abbas and Fayyad after the president returns (from Qatar) to settle Fayyad’s resignation,” Azzam al-Ahmad, a senior member of the ruling Fatah movement, told Voice of Palestine radio.

Earlier, a Palestinian official told AFP on condition of anonymity that Fayyad had prepared a resignation letter on March 23, but had delayed handing it over because Abbas had been out of the country.

Abbas was due to return later on Thursday from Doha where he has been attending Arab League meetings.

Another official, who also requested anonymity, said it was not certain Fayyad’s resignation would be accepted.

Longstanding tensions between Fayyad and Abbas peaked on March 2 when Nabil Qassis announced he was standing down as finance minister.

Abbas, who was abroad at the time, rejected the resignation but Fayyad agreed to it.

The crisis over the finance minister “was the reason for Fayyad’s resignation,” al-Ahmad said.

“Fayyad will have to decide today whether to keep Qassis in his post, or to resign as head of the government,” he added.

Last week, the Fatah Revolutionary Council for the first time openly criticized Fayyad’s government over its economic policy.

“The policies of the current Palestinian government are improvised and confused in many issues of finance and the economy,” it said.

The criticism came as several high-ranking officials suggested Abbas might be about to dismiss Fayyad.

Fayyad held the finance portfolio as well as the premiership before Qassis’ appointment in May 2012.

Abbas’ Palestinian Authority is in serious financial crisis, partly as a result of non-disbursement of promised foreign funding, although the US Congress quietly unblocked $500 million in aid in March.

(Source / 11.04.2013)

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