PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad
PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad Israel news photo: Flash 90

The United States and Canada have both expressed disappointment and regret at the resignation of Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, who on Saturday made it clear his decision was final. 

However, Fayyad, 61, will remain as caretaker in the current government until a new prime minister is appointment, a spokesman said.

PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas had no hesitation in accepting the resignation of his Number 2, despite a call from U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Friday, urging Abbas to find a way to keep Fayyad in the government.

The outgoing prime minister is an anomaly in the PA world, an independent U.S.-trained economist who served with the International Money Fund, and not a member of Fatah or any other political faction in the PA. Deeply admired by Western leaders, Fayyad was loathed by many in the Palestinian Authority for his intense dedication to wiping out corruption and ongoing efforts to balance the government budget.

“We recognize the important roles played by both.... Abbas and Prime Minister Fayyad, and appreciate both of their efforts as we and others work to support establishment of a viable, independent Palestinian state,” said Caitlin Hayden, spokeswoman for the National Security Council.

“Prime Minister Fayyad has been a strong partner to the international community and a leader in promoting economic growth, state-building and security for the Palestinian people. We look to all Palestinian leaders to support these efforts,” she said.

Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird also expressed his nation’s concern over Fayyad’s resignation, saying he was “saddened and deeply disappointed” with the decision.

Fayyad has been a “trusted and dedicated interlocutor and friend of Canada,” Baird said, adding that he hoped the economist would “continue to advance the cause of peace and continue to work to improve the lives of the Palestinian people.”

Two weeks ago while Abbas was abroad, Fayyad accepted the resignation of the PA Finance Minister, who threw up his hands in frustration after finding it impossible to untangle the fiscal crises facing the Ramallah government. Although the move was within Fayyad’s authority, Abbas was reportedly livid over the matter. 

Several days later, Fayyad – who stepped in to take over as acting finance minister until the position could be filled – was struck down in his office with severe stomach pains. He was rushed to a hospital in Ramallah where he was later diagnosed with an inflamed pancreas.  Although he returned to work within days, Fayyad’s resignation came just a week later.    

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