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Donor group for Palestine meets in NY

‘The members of the donor group for Palestine (AHLC) met today to address the critical situation of the Palestinian economy and discussed the way forward on how to resolve the conflict. The donors welcomed that progress had been made, despite the very difficult political conditions in particular in Gaza, said Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende”.

Foreign Minister Brende chaired the meeting of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee (AHLC) on assistance to the Palestinians, which was hosted by the United Nations in New York on 18 September. The Palestinian authorities were represented by Deputy Prime Minister Ziad Abu Amr and Minister of Finance Shukri Bishara. Minister of Regional Cooperation Tzachi Hanegbi led the Israeli delegation. Also present were representatives of the largest donors, including the co-chairs, EU High Representative Federica Mogherini and US Special Representative Jason Greenblatt as well as several ministers from the region.

The donors expressed great concerns over developments on the ground. They discussed the most effective ways of supporting Palestinian institution building and of creating more Palestinian economic growth at a difficult time.

Particular concern was expressed about the deterioration of conditions for Gaza's two million people. The parties were encouraged to find better ways of addressing the needs of the population.

'Access to basic needs in Gaza, such as power, water and medicines, must not be obstructed due to a political conflict,' Mr Brende said.

The Palestinian government has reduced the budget deficit through improved financial management and increased tax revenues. The donors emphasised the importance of further reforms on the Palestinian side, and of increasing the revenues transferred from Israel, and stressed the need to maintain budgetary support.

During the meeting, Foreign Minister Brende suggested a way forward to strengthen the Palestinian economy in the period ahead.

The AHLC expressed support for restarting the peace process to resolve the outstanding final status issues. The donor group also welcomed the Egyptian initiative to restore the Palestinian government's control over Gaza.

The AHLC's mandate is to support the peace process and underpin efforts to realize the two-state solution. The AHLC is the only international forum where both parties participate in a dialogue with the donors and the international community. In recent years, the donor group has met twice a year.