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Donor aid to Palestinians – key to peace talks prospects

Norwegian Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik called for donor contributions to the Palestinian people during his Brussels meeting with High Representative Javier Solana. It will be a key step to encourage Israeli/Palestinian peace talks.

15/02/2006 :: “The ceasefire is a good start. But it is important for us to follow up the with economic contributions, so that the Palestinians feel that their situation is improving,” said Norwegian Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik after a meeting with EU High Representative for the CFSP, Javier Solana, in Brussels February 8. 

He was hopeful that the Israeli and Palestinian ceasefire agreed February 8 could be the starting point of a positive development in Israeli-Palestinian relations – a revival of the trust crucially needed to revive peace talks.

The necessary step towards peace talks is dependent on the will of both parties to uphold the ceasefire, but Prime Minister Bondevik is hopeful.

“I hope the ceasefire will be respected and that it will bring both parties back to the negotiations table and to the roadmap,” he said.

During a three-day visit to Israel and the Palestinian Territories February 12 Prime Minister Bondevik will meet with both Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and newly elected Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

High Representative Solana congratulated Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on the ceasefire agreement, also urging the need for continuing efforts of economic development in the Palestinian Territories.

“The moment has come to do a lot of things. We need to help the Palestinians to prepare themselves, to help them restructure the state,” said High Representative Solana.

The EU is one of the major donors in the Norwegian chaired Ad Hoc Liaison Committee (AHCL), established in 1993 to ensure the efficiency of donor contributions in the attempt to build an autonomous and democratic Palestinian state.

 

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High representative Solana and Prime Minister Bondevik at the press conference in BrusselsPhoto: Anne Grethe Nilsen/EU-del