Cairo, 03 Rabiul Awwal 1434/15 January 2013 (IINA/MINA) – Arab foreign ministers meeting in Cairo yesterday agreed to form a delegation to visit Arab capitals and ask for help in easing the Palestinian financial crisis, the pan-Arab body said.
The delegation will comprise Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, Arab League Secretary General Nabil Al-Arabi as well as the foreign ministers of Iraq and Lebanon.
The diplomats will visit Arab countries and press them to fulfill their pledges to provide the State of Palestine with $100 million monthly, as agreed during the Arab summit in March last year. The League also called on the international community to press Israel to release tax revenues.
The government of the West Bank has been mired for months in financial crisis. Last month Palestinian government employees across the West Bank went on strike over unpaid salaries. The crisis has been aggravated by Israel’s decision to halt the transfer of tax and tariff revenues as punishment after the Palestinians gained upgraded status at the United Nations.
The Arab League has promised the Palestinians a fiscal “safety net” of $100 million, and Palestinians had hoped to receive it during a recent visit by Arabi to Ramallah. An Arab League delegation will also visit Syria’s neighboring countries to assess the status of refugees ahead of a donor conference in Kuwait on Jan. 30.
The Arab foreign ministers meeting discussed the Syrian refugee crisis and agreed to send a team to Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq “to assess the situation of Syrian refugees on the ground,” the Arab League said. The delegation is to work out the amount of aid required and present its findings to a donor conference hosted by Kuwait on January 30, it said.
The number of Syrian refugees registered in neighbouring countries and North Africa has jumped by more than 100,000 in the past month to over 600,000, the UN’s refugee body said Friday.
UNHCR said it had registered nearly 176,600 refugees in Jordan, but stressed that the Jordanian government put the total number at around 280,000. Nearly 200,000 are registered in Lebanon, more than 153,000 in Turkey, 69,300 in Iraq, 13,000 in Egypt and over 5,000 in North Africa.
The 22-month long conflict has left over 60,000 people dead, according to the United Nations. The UN has said it expects the number of Syrian refugees in neighboring countries will rise to 1.1 million by next June if the war continues. (T/R-009/R-006)
Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)