PA seeks Israel talks to rework key eco agreement: minister
RAMALLAH, Palestinian Territories - Agence France-Presse
Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas. AA PhotoThe Palestinian Authority has formally asked Israel for talks on changing the Paris Protocol, a key agreement governing economic ties between the two, a minister told AFP today.
"I made a request to the Israeli government through the defence ministry... that the Palestinian Authority officially requests the reopening of the Paris Protocol which is not compatible with the current economic situation," said civil affairs minister Hussein al-Sheikh.
Sheikh said he had been advised by Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas to push through the request, which comes as the Palestinian Authority is struggling to handle a growing wave of social unrest over the spiralling cost of living.
"The president told me as head of civilian affairs to give the Israelis an official request to reopen the Paris Protocol -- to re-examine it, to adjust it and to change it as soon as possible," he explained.
"We are waiting for the Israeli response and if they approve, a committee will be formed from the negotiations department and other specialised groups to start discussing the changes." There was no immediate comment from the Israeli defence ministry.
The Paris Protocol was a framework set up in 1994 which laid out the terms for the economic relations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority which was established as part of the Oslo Accords which created the PA.
"The goal of this is to provide for the Palestinian people within this difficult economic situation," Sheikh said.
In September 2011, Abbas said he wanted to amend the Paris Protocol which "contains restrictions that affect the Palestinian economy and hinder its development," he said.
"The Paris agreement does not allow Palestinians to promote their economy," Abbas said, describing it as "unfair." Over the last week, thousands of Palestinians have taken to the streets to protest against the soaring cost of living, rising petrol prices and unemployment, many of them demanding the resignation of prime minister Salam Fayyad.