Press release | Date: 2016-04-19 | Ministry of Foreign Affairs
“Without a political process to resolve the conflict, strengthening Palestine’s economic sustainability is the most efficient way of defending the two-state solution,” said Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende. But this cannot substitute the efforts to resolve the conflict through a political process.
The donor group for Palestine (Ad Hoc Liaison Committee – AHLC) held its spring meeting in Brussels today, hosted by the EU High Representative Federica Mogherini. The meeting was chaired by Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende.
At the meeting, the parties and donors agreed to work towards a more sustainable Palestinian economy by removing the Palestinian budget deficit, and to create long-term economic growth and job creation over the coming two years.
The donors praised the Palestinian and Israeli finance ministers for their serious efforts to increase Palestinian revenues by closing fiscal leakages. This has already led to increases in transfers from Israel to the PA. Donor contributions are falling. The Palestinian economy must become more sustainable, including through greater access to exports and imports. The rebuilding of Gaza is making progress, but it is still too slow, and the donors need to translate the pledges made at the Cairo Conference in 2014.
“We note that when the prospects for a political resolution erodes, and when major conflicts in the region demand quick responses, the donors will have to prioritise accordingly,” Mr Brende said.
When the Palestinian economy stagnates and the PA is running a considerable deficit, it creates greater instability on the ground.
“The meeting raised a range of measures aimed at reducing the budget deficit and efforts to consolidate the fiscal position of the PA. As the Chair of the group, and in advance of the next AHLC meeting in New York, Norway will take the lead to develop a comprehensive AHLC strategy for the next two-years, addressing both fiscal consolidation, economic growth and job creation This is necessary in order to succeed in the efforts to help developing a more sustainable Palestinian economy,” Mr Brende said.
“Most importantly, however, is that the parties take responsibility and show leadership to resume negotiations to resolving the conflict,” said the foreign minister.