World Bulletin / News Desk
Saudi Arabia will give the Palestinian Authority $100 million to help alleviate a stinging budget crunch, the Palestinian prime minister's office said on Sunday.
News of the cash was welcomed by Palestinian officials in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, as salaries for public sector employees have yet to be paid in full this month and economic doldrums promised to mar the usually festive and spendthrift Ramadan holiday beginning next week.
The transfer, described by Palestinian officials as imminent, will only partially defray the Authority's (PA) some $300 million in expenditures this month. But officials in Ramallah are seeking the support of yet more countries to patch a budget deficit projected at over $1 billion for 2012.
"This $100 million is important and significant because it's coming from a leading Arab state, and this hopefully can be an example for other countries to follow," Ghassan Khatib, a government spokesman, told Reuters.
"We will remain in need of external funding. Whenever it is affected, then we will be in crisis," he said.
Amid a downturn in productive sectors and with its economic and commercial prospects hamstrung by Israeli restrictions, the PA is deeply dependent on foreign aid to pay its bills.
Of a hoped-for $1.1 billion in donor funds in 2011, the Western-backed Authority in Ramallah received just under $750 million.Last Mod: 16 Temmuz 2012, 10:50