x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Palestinian PM hails $100 million in Saudi aid

Emergency donation received from Saudi Arabia will assist authority crippled by $1.5 billion in debts.

RAMALLAH // Palestinian prime minister Salam Fayyad Sunday hailed an emergency $100 million donation received from Saudi Arabia after Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas visited the kingdom last week.

"Prime minister Salam Fayyad and the Palestinian people thank... King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz after he instructed the Saudi finance ministry to transfer $100 million to the Palestinian Authority treasury at the request of president Mahmoud Abbas," Fayyad's office said.

The money, the office added, would "support the Palestinian Authority and assist them in overcoming the financial crisis they are suffering from".

Abbas on Friday had asked King Abdullah for emergency financial assistance for his West Bank Palestinian Authority government, which is facing a shortfall that officials have said is the worst in the government's history.

On Friday, the top Palestinian diplomat in Riyadh, Jamal Shobaki, said the PA's debts stood at $1.5 billion.

Citing statistics from Fayyad's government, Shobaki said an estimated $500 million was needed in urgent aid to tackle the current crisis, which has left the government unable to meet payroll for its employees.

Palestinian officials have said the crisis is the result of donor nations failing to deliver on their aid pledges.