Palestinian finance minister resignation accepted

AFP , Sunday 3 Mar 2013

Palestinian finance minister announces his resignation from Salam Fayyad government as the Palestinian Authority faces the worst financial crisis since 1994

Palestinian prime minister Salam Fayyad on Sunday accepted the resignation of his finance minister Nabil Qassis, a government statement read.

Qassis, a former president of the Bir Zeit university near Ramallah in the West Bank who joined the government in May 2012, announced on Saturday he was resigning, without giving a reason.

A statement issued after a Palestinian cabinet meeting said that Fayyad "accepted the resignation" of Qassis, and thanked him for his work.

His resignation, confirmed on Saturday by government spokeswoman Nur Odeh, comes with the Palestinian Authority facing chronic budget difficulties labeled by ministers as "the worst financial crisis" since its creation in 1994.

The Palestinian budget for 2013 is due by the end of the month, and Fayyad -- an economist by training -- held a meeting on Sunday with finance ministry staff.

The Palestinian fiscal crisis is aggravated by non-payment of aid pledged by global donors, mainly the United States and Arab nations, and tensions with Israel.

Following the Palestinians' status upgrade at the United Nations in November, Israel announced it would freeze taxes it collects on behalf of the Palestinians, but later transferred funds for December and January.


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