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      Abbas Meets Blair, Asks for Financial Support

      PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas meets Quartet representative Tony Blair, called to support the PA financially.
      By Elad Benari
      First Publish: 8/8/2012, 1:14 AM

      Mahmoud Abbas
      Mahmoud Abbas
      Flash 90

      Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas received Quartet representative Tony Blair in Ramallah on Tuesday and called to support the PA financially.

      The PA-based WAFA news agency reported that Abbas briefed Blair on the latest political developments and the dilemma the peace process is facing, due to what he termed the Israeli government’s intransigence and refusal to abide by the international law.

      The report said that Abbas insisted on the importance of providing financial support to PA, especially during the critical financial situation it is going through.

      The PA government currently faces its worst financial crisis since its 1994 establishment. The PA’s labor minister recently warned that a shortfall in the delivery of aid from Arab donor nations means the PA will be unable to pay employees their July salaries or pay off debts it owes to private businesses.

      PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad warned several months ago that the Palestinian Authority may soon fail financially and cease to exist.

      A recent World Bank report said that the economic growth in the PA is unsustainable because of its heavy reliance on foreign aid. The report said the PA had begun establishing institutions for a future state, but the economy was not strong enough to support it.

      Meanwhile, a report on Kol Yisrael radio on Tuesday said that Abbas visited Shechem and reiterated that the PA intends to ask the UN General Assembly for recognition as a state.

      Saeb Erekat, a member of the Fatah’s Central Committee and the Palestinian Authority’s chief negotiator, said last week that the Arab ministerial council will discuss the PA's next bid to the United Nations for recognition as a state on September 5.

      In September 2011, PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas applied for full UN membership at the UN Security Council. Israel and the U.S. staunchly opposed the bid, which failed due to a lack of support in the 15-member council.

      The PA currently has observer status at the UN and an upgrade by the General Assembly to “non-member” would give Palestine recognition as a “state”. This could open the way for PA Arabs to take legal action against Israelis through the International Criminal Court.

      PA Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki recently said that Arab countries support a unilateral PA bid for statehood recognition in the UN General Assembly.

      He said he believed the PA would win 130-140 votes should the motion be put forward at the world body, securing a majority in the General Assembly.