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Norway warns over Palestinian donor fatigue

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Norway, the chair of a group of donors to the Palestinian Authority (PA), said Wednesday the political deadlock in the Middle East was causing "fatigue" among financial backers of a future Palestinian state.

"There is a significant fatigue among many donors and a kind of questioning of whether this process leads to a Palestinian state," said the Norwegian foreign minister, Espen Barth Eide, during a meeting with journalists in Oslo.

The Ad Hoc Liaison Committee, which groups international donors to the PA, will meet in Brussels on March 19 against a backdrop of budget difficulties aggravated by non-payment of aid pledged by global donors, mainly the United States and Arab nations.

The development aid already distributed has allowed the government of Salam Fayyad to build the institutions needed for a future state, but the current political stalemate could have dramatic consequences if donors feel discouraged, Barth Eide said.

"If the sense is that this is a deadlock and it remains a deadlock ... I think that the fatigue problem will be very acute. And that means that the Palestinian Authority could collapse and ... then Israel would get a much more difficult neighbour," he said.

But the Norwegian foreign minister said there were also developments that could help break the impasse, such as the arrival of a new Israeli government without any ultra-Orthodox parties, and the possibility of greater US involvement in the Middle East after President Barack Obama was reelected.

Obama is due to make a state visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories between March 20 and 22.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130306/norway-warns-over-palestinian-donor-fatigue