Foreign Minister Støre meets the press with Palestinian Prime Minister Fayyad. Photo: Scan News/Cia Pak
Successful statebuilding in the Palestinian Territory
The Ad Hoc Liaison Committee for assistance to the Palestinians (AHLC) the Palestinian Authority for its implementation of the government programme over the last three years, and confirmed that it would continue to provide support to complete institution building and ensure a sustainable Palestinian economy. Chair of the AHLC, Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs Jonas Gahr Støre commented, “We must ensure that this positive trend continues and that the progress we have achieved is not jeopardised.”
The AHLC meeting was held in connection with the opening of the UN General Assembly in New York on 18 September. The AHLC again concluded that the Palestinian Authority has the necessary institutions in place to form a Palestinian state.
“The progress we have seen in the Palestinian Territory under the leadership of Prime Minister Salam Fayyad is a true success story; it is one of the most successful statebuilding projects in several decades. This is a result of a concerted effort, primarily on the part of the Palestinians themselves, but the donors and Israel have also made important contributions.
“Prime Minister Fayyad presented an ambitious plan with emphasis on increasing investment and revenues to the Palestinian government budget. A key element in this plan is secure and predictable collection and transfer of Palestinian customs and tax revenues from Israel,” said Mr Støre.
The AHLC also pointed out the major challenges the Palestinian Authority faces in terms of declining economic growth, the prospect of reduced funding from donors, and continued economic barriers due to the Israeli closure regime in the West Bank and Gaza.
“The donors have agreed to help to ensure stability through continued support to the Palestinian Authority. However, these efforts do not alter the need for sustainable economic growth in the private sector. Israeli restrictions on access to natural resources and markets must be eased to a far greater extent in order to increase growth, according to reports from the UN, World Bank and the International Monetary Fund,” said Mr Støre.
Mr Støre also reminded the meeting that the AHLC’s task is to help the Palestinian Authority to complete the institution-building process and strengthen the economy, and that this will be an important contribution to a two-state solution, even under difficult political circumstances.
The UN, represented by Under-Secretary-General Lynn Pascoe, hosted the AHLC meeting, which was attended by Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Catherine Ashton, Quartet Representative Tony Blair, and representatives of key donor countries.