Abbas Meets Saudi King, Seeks Urgent Financial Aid

PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas visits Saudi Arabia, meets King Abdullah to seek urgent aid for his administration.

Elad Benari, Canada,

PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas
PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas visited Saudi Arabia on Friday and met King Abdullah to seek urgent aid for his administration.

AFP reported that the leaders, who met in Jeddah, discussed “the financial crisis of the Palestinian Authority (PA) which will no longer be able to pay its employees as Ramadan approaches,”

The PA’s top diplomat in Riyadh, Jamal Shobaki, told AFP that “Abbas asked for the help of the Saudi kingdom which he thanked for its continued support to the Palestinians.”

He said they also discussed the stagnant peace process between Israel and the PA, as well as Israel's policy of building Jewish communities in Judea, Samaria and east Jerusalem.

The PA's debts have climbed to $1.5 billion, said Shobaki. Citing statistics from prime minister Salam Fayyad's government, he estimated that $500 million was needed in urgent aid to tackle the current crisis.

The Authority faces its worst financial crisis since it was founded in 1994, labor minister Ahmed Majdalani said at the start of July, warning that donor countries were not honoring their pledges.

AFP noted that Arab and other states have pledged around one billion dollars, of which the PA has received only $480 million.

The PA Prime Minister, Salam Fayyad, warned a few months ago that his government would reduce expenses if donor countries fail to pay aid they pledged to the PA.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has denied a PA request, filed via Israel, for a $100 million bridging loan.

Fayyad approached Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer in search of Israeli assistance with obtaining the loan earlier this year, but the IMF rejected Fischer's request on the Ramallah-based PA's behalf, saying it did not want to set a problematic precedent for loans by proxy, due to the PA's near insolvency.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American Desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)