Minister Eide’s opening remarks at international partner meeting on Palestine

‘Our message to our Palestinian friends and partners today should be our joint commitment to the survival and strengthening of the Palestinian institutions in the whole of Palestine. In words but also in deeds’, Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide said in his remarks.

(As delivered)

Excellences, ministers, colleagues and friends,

Welcome to this international partner meeting on Palestine. Thank you to the EU and my good friend High Representative Josep Borrell for hosting us today.

Everyone present know that we are meeting at an extremely difficult time for Palestine, for the entire region and indeed for the world. After what has happened since the AHLC countries last met in New York is beyond devastating. The death and destruction is beyond what any of us had imagined. The people in Gaza need a ceasefire more than ever. The hostages must be freed. Both the people of Palestine and Israel need this war to end. We strongly support renewed efforts for a ceasefire.

We need to work on three tracks, and this meeting is part of the latter. We need to end the war. We need a ceasefire. We need to strengthen the humanitarian efforts, but we also need to think towards a political solution.

There is an almost unprecedented support in the international community for a two-state solution as the long-term outcome. I think almost all countries agree that there is no credible alternative and in that situation we all need to think about how we can contribute. There are many pieces of the puzzle that have to be laid. But what is absolutely certain is that it would be absolutely impossible to get to that long term goal of a two-state solution in Palestine and Israel living in peace with each other if we do not take care and help strengthen the survival and the reform of the Palestinian Authority. This is what we are here to do.

The situation on the ground - not only in Gaza but also in the West Bank - is dire. The situation of the PA is dire. The purpose of this meeting is exactly to support the important role of the Palestinian Authority. The role of the PA is crucial for service delivery to the Palestinian people. It's necessary to further develop the institutions and the governance structures for the people in the West Bank. And also to prepare for there to be one Palestinian government for the West Bank and Gaza in the future.

We are so pleased to have you, Prime Minister Mustafa, and your team with us today. We know that you have developed important plans for the days, weeks and months to come which you will share with us today. This includes your reform agenda of the new government. These reforms are crucial, when it comes to efficiency, service delivery, transparency, democracy, and financial reforms.

We know that reforms are needed but we also know that many of them are costly and that your fiscal situation is dramatic right now. Not only are funds that belongs to Palestine being held back by Israel, and I would reiterate my call that Israel must transfer the clearance revenues in full. But we also have the effect of more than half a million of Palestinian people that no longer is able to work, and many of these support large families which again has reduced the circulation of the Palestinian economy. Then comes the effects of the war so there's an accumulated effect which makes the economic situation very problematic.

Donors need to take responsibility economically but also politically in this very critical situation. We encourage longstanding donors to increase their support but also new donors to come on board. Our message to our Palestinian friends and partners today should be our joint commitment to the survival and strengthening of the Palestinian institutions in the whole of Palestine. In words but also in deeds.

After my friend Josep has given his opening remarks, I will be pleased to give the floor to Prime Minister Mustafa of Palestine for his presentation which will be at the center of this meeting. The first one to speak after this will be Deputy Secretary of State Kurt Campbell from the US who will be with us on video link. We are very happy to have the US with us. Then we will hear from the UN, the World Bank, the IMF and the Office of the Quartet to elaborate on Mr. Mustafa’s presentation. Followed again by Ministers and countries to ask for the floor. I hope that we can be crisp, to the point and be practical. We know how serious the situation is. What we need to do is to see how we can foster a credible solution.