Donor countries gathered in Rome for the annual Palestinian donors' conference have urged the Palestinian Authority (PA) to implement reforms intended to clean up its finances and improve security in the Occupied Territories. Some donor states have been described as suffering from 'donor fatigue' due to the lack of visible changes resulting from donations, said Norwegian special representative to the Middle East, Jakken Lian. This was a point emphasised by a senior US diplomat. 'I will be blunt - The reform process is at a near standstill,' said US deputy assistant secretary of state for near eastern affairs, David Satterfield, at a meeting of the International Task Force on Palestinian Reform, which is being held in Rome. 'While it is true that... significant progress has been made, unfortunately, nearly all of that was before August,' Satterfield said. 'Since then, in the absence for a too-long period of a Palestinian government and with continued threats of terror attacks and a prolongation of the humanitarian crisis, there has been little forward motion.'
The PA, represented by a delegation headed by Foreign Affairs Minister, Nabil Shaath, hopes to raise about $1,200 million from the Rome meetings, and will urge Israel to lift a trade blockade on the Occupied Territories, which would allow for a reduction in international aid. At present, aid accounts for some 60 per cent of the PA's budget (MEED 7:12:03).