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Common responsibility for a two-state solution

"It is essential to safeguard the institutions that will form the foundation for a future Palestinian state," said Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs Espen Barth Eide (photo), who chaired the meeting of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee (AHLC) for assistance to the Palestinians in New York.

"We share a common responsibility to promote the realisation of a two-state solution," Eide said.

The AHCL meeting discussed the issue of how to continue the Palestinian state-building project at a time when the Palestinian economy is facing considerable challenges.  

After three years spent strengthening Palestinian institutions and with strong economic growth, the Palestinians are now facing a severe economic crisis. This is largely due to a combination of the effects of the occupation, a reduction in donor contributions and the fact that Palestinian revenues have been lower than anticipated. 

"At the meeting the donors confirmed that they would continue to promote financial stability during this difficult period. At the same time there was agreement that sustainable development can only be achieved if Israel eases restrictions on access to land. It is crucial to ensure access to land, water and other resources in Israeli controlled areas of the West Bank," said Mr Eide.  

In the reports from the IMF, the World Bank and the UN that were presented at the meeting, it was emphasised that the Israeli authorities must improve the overall framework for Palestinian business activities on the West Bank, including in East Jerusalem, and in Gaza. 

"The Palestinians must continue their economic reforms, but these reforms alone cannot be expected to improve the economic situation," said Mr Eide.

The AHLC reaffirmed its conclusion that the Palestinian Authority has the necessary institutions in place to form a Palestinian state.   

The UN, represented by Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman, hosted the AHLC meeting, which was attended by Palestinian Finance Minister Nabil Kassis, Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton, Quartet Representative Tony Blair, and representatives of key donor countries.

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