Thursday, 22 Oct 2020 - 4 of Heshvan, 5781

No EU ultimatum to the PA conditioning financial aid to its refusal to accept tax revenues collected by Israel, says EU spokesperson

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There has been absolutely no suggestion to cut or suspend any EU funding to the PA in relation with this issue,’’ Peter Stano, EU spokesperson for foreign affairs, said.

An EU spokesperson dismissed press reports that during a phone conversation last week with Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell said that the EU would not provide any additional financial aid to the PA as long as the Palestinians refuse to accept tax revenues collected by Israel.

‘’These reports are misleading and and a mixing up of the facts,” said Peter Stano, the EU’s spokesperson on foreign affairs, during Thursday’s daily press briefing of the European Commission.

“Misrepresentation is usually done by those who are not part of the conversation,” he added.

‘‘Let me clarify some facts: there was no ultimatum given to the Palestinian counterparts. First we are not in the business of giving ultimatums. This is one thing. Second thing, there is absolutely no change in the  EU’s position when it comes to our cooperation and assistance given to Palestinian people and to the Palestinian Authority,’’ he added.

He noted that the EU and its member states ”are and continue to be the largest international financial support to the Palestinians.’’

‘’We are a firm supporter of the Palestinian Authority and the EU together with other international partners in the conversation and in our contacts with our Palestinian partners are encouraging them to again accept the transfer of their own tax revenues because this is their own money. There has been absolutely no suggestion to cut or suspend  any EU funding to the PA in relation with this issue,’’ the spokesperson said.

Last May, Mahmoud Abbas announced that he considered all agreements with Israel and the U.S. to be void, and he would cut off security and civilian coordination with Israel until it reversed its plans to annex parts of the West Bank.

Additionally, the Palestinian Authority stopped accepting tax revenues that are collected on its behalf by Israel.

In the meantime, Israel has accepted to put the plan to extend its sovereignty in the West Bank on hold as part of the normalisation accord with the United Arab Emirates.

Abbas’s decision, combined with the coronavirus pandemic, has contributed to a financial crisis in the West Bank. The Palestinian Authority has struggled to pay the salaries of officials and members of the security forces.

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