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Fatah official confirms: Change from PA "Ministry" to PLO "Commission" is a ploy to avoid donor pressure to stop prisoners' salaries

     "Fatah Central Committee member Azzam Al-Ahmad announced that the implementation of President [Mahmoud Abbas'] decision to create a Higher Council for Information to replace the Ministry of Information would soon begin...
At a press conference he organized at the Fatah faction headquarters in Ramallah yesterday, Al-Ahmad told Al-Hayat Al-Jadida that 'the decision to close the Ministry of Information was made in the past and will soon be implemented.' In addition, he said that it had been decided to transform the Ministry of Prisoners' Affairs into a commission subordinate to the PLO, in the wake of international pressure aimed at preventing the payments to the prisoners in the occupation...
Al-Ahmad rejected the attempts to cast doubt on the leadership's position regarding support of the prisoners, and said: 'We stopped the negotiations after Israel refused to release the last group of prisoners, and they are the "apple of our eye."'
Al-Ahmad noted that in the past, problems had arisen with donor countries regarding the aid to the Martyrs' families, and that their files had therefore been transferred to the PLO. He added: 'In recent months, there have been attempts on the part of the donors to exert pressure [on us] to stop the payments to the prisoners in the occupation prisons, causing us to transfer the issue of the prisoners back to the prisoners' and Martyrs' (Shahids') original mother [organization] (the PLO) [parenthesis in source].'
He noted that the national efforts must lead to getting rid of the Oslo Accords and their results, and said: 'We don't want any council, government or chairman based on the Oslo Accords; we want a state president, a state parliament and a state government. Even if they try to prevent us from [achieving] this, we have original solutions.'
He added that 'everything that was said on the issue of the Ministry of Prisoners' Affairs [by those who opposed the move] was [mere] wrangling. A decision has been made to turn the ministry into an authority, and this will be done upon completion of the [necessary] measures.'"
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