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Extraordinary meeting of the international donor group for Palestine (AHLC) in Brussels

‘The members of the donor group for Palestine reiterated today their strong support for a resumption of peace negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians, said Minister of Foreign Affairs Ine Eriksen Søreide

 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 today.   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.