AP Interview: Bleak outlook for West Bank economy

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RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) — The Palestinian official who this week took charge of the West Bank economic policy acknowledges that he has no radical new solutions for old problems, including a crippling budget deficit and Israeli restrictions on development in much of the territory.

Mohammad Mustafa, who is the new deputy prime minister for economic affairs, said in an interview Wednesday that "on the financial side, things look pretty bleak" and that all he can do is try harder than his predecessors and hope for a better outcome.

His first challenge is getting Arab donors to make good on hundreds of millions of dollars in aid pledges. Mustafa says he'll tour Arab countries soon to make his case. As of now, he still doesn't know how to cover the government payroll for June.

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