Minister of Foreign Affairs Ine Eriksen Søreide led a video meeting on tuesday of donor countries in the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee (AHLC) for Palestine. EU High Representative Josep Borrell co-hosted the meeting. For the Palestinians, Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh and Minister of Finance Shukri Bishara attended. Representing Israel’s Foreign Ministry was Director General Yuval Rotem. Foreign ministers of a number of key donor countries and the region also took part.
At the meeting, several countries warned against Israeli annexation of parts of the West Bank, saying that such an act would be contrary to international law and undermines the possibility of a negotiated two-state solution. Questions were also raised about the consequences of President Abbas’s statement that he will end cooperation and suspend agreements with Israel. The donors affirmed their continued commitment and support to the work of the AHLC. However, the negative political dynamics limit the effectiveness of donor efforts.
‘Key donors, including Norway, expressed concern today over unilateral statements and actions, such as suspending agreements and annexation. Statements and actions like these can make it harder to resolve the conflict. They can also erode the impact of donor efforts and the willingness of donors to contribute. At the AHLC meeting today, Norway and several other donors issued a clear call for the parties to resume negotiations,’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs Ine Eriksen Søreide.
Meeting participants discussed measures to strengthen the Palestinian economy and the disposition of donor efforts going forward given the significant challenges faced by the Palestinian Authority, including Covid-19-related issues.
‘The parties and the donors have responded quickly to the coronavirus crisis, and it is important to extend the promising cooperation established between the parties. The shared effort demonstrates that real progress is possible if the parties cooperate,’ Norway’s Minister of Foreign Affairs said.
In her remarks, the Foreign Minister urged donors to increase their support for the Palestinian Authority and measures in the Palestinian territories. She also urged the parties to resolve outstanding financial issues and strengthen agreements between themselves.
The AHLC was established in 1993, following the Oslo I Accord, with a view to creating an institutional and economic basis for a negotiated two-state solution. It is the only international forum where both parties to the conflict engage in regular dialogue with donors and the international community about the two-state solution and Palestinian state-building.