Newly appointed Palestinian Finance Minister Shukri Bishara (R) is sworn in, in Ramallah, on June 6, 2013
Newly appointed Palestinian Finance Minister Shukri Bishara (R) is sworn in, in Ramallah, on June 6, 2013. Bishara is meeting with his Israeli counterpart for talks aimed at resuming economic contacts suspended by Israel last year. © Abbas Momani - AFP/File
Newly appointed Palestinian Finance Minister Shukri Bishara (R) is sworn in, in Ramallah, on June 6, 2013
AFP
Last updated: June 16, 2013

New Israeli and Palestinian finance ministers in talks

Israel and the Palestinian Authority decided to resume economic cooperation suspended by the Jewish state last year, at a meeting of their finance ministers on Sunday.

The Israeli finance ministry, announcing the agreement as host of the Jerusalem talks, said newly appointed Palestinian minister Shukri Bishara met Israel's Yair Lapid, who took office in March.

They discussed "the implementation of confidence-building measures", it said, and a timetable was laid down after the meeting to renew economic ties between Israel and the Palestinians.

Palestinian finance ministry spokesman Rami Mahdawi said Israel had agreed to hand over the monthly taxes it collects for the Palestinian Authority.

Between December 2012 and March 2013, Israel suspended the transfer of the taxes in reprisal for the Palestinians being accorded the status of observer state at the United Nations.

The aim of renewed cooperation is to relaunch regular meetings on technical issues such as crossing points; fuel, power and water supplies; and payment for treatment of Palestinians in Israeli hospitals, the Palestinians said.

Israel halted the meetings in November after the UN General Assembly upgraded the Palestinians' status in the face of stiff objections from both Israel and the United States.

Lapid said economic cooperation would benefit both sides.

"There are problems concerning daily life for Palestinians that must be coordinated and followed up with Israeli occupation authorities," Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat said on Voice of Palestine radio.

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