The goal is a negotiated two-state solution that allows Israelis and Palestinians to live side by side in peace and security. Because the situation is so difficult it is important to meet at this juncture. The atmosphere of the meeting was constructive’ she said.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Eriksen Søreide chaired an extraordinary meeting of the international donor group for Palestine, the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee (AHLC), in Brussels on 31 January. The meeting was hosted by EU High Representative Federica Mogherini. Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah led the Palestinian delegation, which included Foreign Minister Riad Malki. The Israeli delegation was led by Minister of Regional Cooperation Tzachi Hanegbi. Foreign ministers and senior politicians from a number of donor countries took part, as did US Special Representative for International Negotiations Jason Greenblatt.
The AHLC is the only international forum where both parties participate in a dialogue with the donors and the international community. This is the first meeting at political level between the Palestinians and the Israelis since the US recognised Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in December.
‘A key goal of today’s extraordinary meeting of the AHLC was to bring the parties and the international community together to support the political negotiations and to promote concrete measures to achieve the two-state solution. The donors have also pledged to continue to provide support for Palestinian state- and institution building, stressed Foreign Minister Eriksen Søreide.
‘The participants expressed grave concerns about the humanitarian and economic crisis in Gaza. The international community has made it clear that the Palestinian parties must overcome their internal divisions and that the Palestinian Authority must regain control over Gaza,’ Ms Eriksen Søreide said. The participants also stressed the importance of the Egyptian initiative to restore the Palestinian Authority’s control over Gaza. The international community urged the Palestinian parties to take steps to ensure that public employees can be paid by the Palestinian Authority. The issue of the security forces in Gaza must also be resolved.
The Palestinian Authority’s budgetary situation is difficult, and will become even more so when it takes over control of Gaza. Ms Eriksen Søreide stated that Norway would maintain its support for the Palestinians and urged other donors to provide financial assistance. The donors also expressed deep concern about the financial situation of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA).
The participants expressed support for restarting a political process to resolve the outstanding final status issues. Foreign Minister Eriksen Søreide emphasised that Norway expects that the US will put forward a proposal that can lead to the resumption of negotiations between the parties on all outstanding issues, including borders, security, settlements, the status of Jerusalem, refugees, and water. Ms Eriksen Søreide also stressed that work is under way to put in place various measures that can lead to growth in the Palestinian economy. This includes cooperation between the parties on infrastructure projects in the water and energy sectors.
In recent years, the donor group has held two ordinary meetings a year. The next ordinary meeting of the AHLC is planned to be held in Brussels on 20 March.