World Bank chief to visit Palestine, Israel 30Jan12 January 30, 2012

Ma’an News Agency  -  29 January 2012

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — World Bank President Robert Zoellick will visit Palestine from Jan. 30 until Feb. 1 to take part in policy and developmental discussions with Palestinian Authority officials, a statement said Sunday.

Zoellick, making his first visit to Palestine and Israel, will meet Ramallah based prime minister Salam Fayyad and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to discuss challenges facing the Middle East, the World Bank said.

“With the World Bank Group’s deep engagement with the Middle East and North Africa, I am looking forward to visiting Israel and the Palestinian Authority to find out more about development challenges,” Zoellick said.

“I want to see what more the World Bank can do to support Palestinians in their efforts to overcome poverty and to further cooperation in development expertise with our Israeli partners.”

The World Bank provides economic support to the Palestinian Authority through a trust fund established in 1993. It has invested an estimated $900 million into the fund.

2011 was an especially troublesome year for the PA’s budget, which was hit by delayed payments from Arab countries, temporary aid cuts of $200 million by the US Congress, and a temporary freeze on Israel’s monthly transfer of $100 million in tax funds to the PA.

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