Address By H.E. Ali Babacan, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey, At the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee On Assistance for Palestinians Meeting

Mr. Chairman,
Prime Minister Fayyad,
Dear Colleagues,

It is my great pleasure to participate at this meeting of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee. I would like to thank Norway for the devoted efforts in organizing the activities of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee.

At the outset, I would like to commend President Abbas and Prime Minister Fayyad for their leadership and their relentless efforts in bringing forward the Palestinian reform and development agenda.

Turkey attributes utmost importance to peace and stability in the Middle East. And we see the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as the key dispute in the region.

Annapolis Conference was a milestone in opening the path for a negotiated settlement ensuring two states living side by side within secure and recognized borders.

Annapolis process must succeed despite all the difficulties. We see no alternative to a negotiated settlement.

I must also say that the continuous rift among the Palestinians is very concerning for the peace process and must be overcome.

A political solution will be viable only if it is complemented by progress in the economic and social realms. Therefore, we attach utmost importance to state building in Palestine and improving the economic and social conditions of the Palestinians.

Dear Colleagues,

Turkey has extended its support to improving the situation in this country through various cooperation schemes. In this connection, up until the Paris Donor Conference held in December 2007, Turkey had already embarked on a program of assistance towards Palestine, including, prospects to improve the daily lives and socio-economic conditions of the Palestinians in the form of technical assistance, training of officers and construction of schools.

We have also developed the “Industry for Peace Project”. We are at the final stages of arrangements to establish the first of these industrial zones in Tarqumiah in the West Bank, within the framework of this Project.

Our objective is to generate a new economic understanding based on creating jobs for the Palestinians and the right environment for businessmen. This project will also serve as a confidence building measure between the Palestinians and Israelis and generate many jobs for the Palestinians.

Mr. Chairman,
Dear Colleagues,

In Paris in December 2007, Turkey pledged 150 million Dollars for the period of three years to support the Palestinian Authority’s Reform and Development Plan.

We are now working to implement our pledges. During the bilateral consultations with the Palestinian Ministry of Planning and all other relevant Ministries in July, we offered to construct a Police Training Center in Palestine.

We also offered to undertake two projects for the enhancement of the conditions of the Foreign Affairs of the Palestinian Authority, namely “Constructing and Furnishing the Palestinian Institute of Diplomacy” and “Capacity Building of Ministry of Foreign Affairs”.

We are also discussing with the Palestinian authorities the prospects for building a hospital in the West Bank and improving health services in the Gaza Strip.

Turkey’s proximity to Palestine is an important asset that will contribute to the efficient use of the amount that we have pledged.

Turkey has experience in the most troublesome spots in world. We want to put our experience into best use also in Palestine.

Despite all the difficulties and challenges ahead, we are determined to continue to contribute to and support all efforts for the welfare and the development of the Palestinian people.

In our view, the financial contributions pledged by countries should be extended without delay.

I would like to conclude by reiterating Turkey’s belief that this meeting will reinforce the commitment of the international community to rebuilding a viable, peaceful and prosperous Palestinian state, and a peaceful, stable and prosperous Middle East.

Thank you.