Støre urges more aid for Palestinians

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Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre warns that the Palestinians face a serious economic crisis because of a lack of financial support for the Palestinian authorities. He urged donor nations to make an extra contribution, especially those in neighboring and Arabic countries.

Norway heads the group of countries that meets regularly to coordinate financial aid for the Palestinians. Donations are running behind by more than USD 150 million this year, meaning that only half of the amount needed for the Palestinian authorities’ budget is likely to be covered.

The shortfall, Støre noted, comes just as economic growth in Gaza is tapering off as well. Revenues from taxes and fees are lower than expected and salaries have been cut in half for public sector workers. That may set off more unrest.

Støre said the need for more financial support will be “acute” throughout the autumn. He met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Oslo on Monday, where the two signed an agreement upgrading the Palestinians’ local representative office to an embassy.

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