Fayyad: Protests prove PA committed to freedom of expression

PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad meets Germany’s Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle in Ramallah, September 9, 2012.

RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — The ongoing protests against rising living costs in the West Bank prove the Palestinian Authority is committed to the right to freedom of expression, PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said Sunday.

Fayyad made the comments while meeting with Germany’s Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle in Ramallah. The Palestinian Authority prime minister briefed Westerwelle on the economic situation in the West Bank and ongoing Israeli violations of the Palestinian people’s rights, above all in Area C and East Jerusalem.

He urged the European Union to pressure Israel to stop exploiting Palestinian resources in the West Bank and to end the 45-year occupation of Palestinian land.

The German FM applauded the achievements of the PA in “laying the foundation for building an independent, self-reliable Palestinian state” and reiterated his country’s support for a two-state solution with East Jerusalem as its capital.

Germany will continue to help develop the Palestinian economy, Westerwelle added.

Fayyad appealed to donor countries to fulfill their financial obligations to the PA in order to pay the salaries of civil servants and to cope with the current financial crisis.

Frustrated by rising prices and high levels of unemployment, Palestinians took to the streets this week to protest the dire economic outlook.

PA premier Salam Fayyad, who also held the finance minister post until earlier this year, has emerged as a focus of the protests but insists that his policies have only been proved right by the economic crisis.

“For years I insisted we gradually decrease our reliance on foreign aid,” he told Palestinian radio on Saturday.

“Of course we would have got better results if we were able to lift the Israeli blockade on Gaza, cancel Israeli control and restrictions on the Palestinian economy…of course the continuing of the (internal political) split has increased the crisis,” Fayyad continued.

(www.maannews.net / 09.09.2012)

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