Monday, 16 September 2019 08:34 GMT

Norwegian FM calls for revival of Arab Peace Initiative on Palestine

(MENAFN - Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) BRUSSELS April 20 (KUNA) -- The Foreign Minister of Norway Borge Brende has welcomed the participation of Arab Gulf countries in the meeting of the Ad-hoc Liaison Committee for Palestine (AHLC) held in Brussels Tuesday evening.

"I welcome the participation of the Gulf countries and also the Arab countries" Brende chair of AHLC told the Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) after the meeting.

121 representatives from the Arab world including Kuwait Saudi Arabia and UAE and from Europe and the US and international organisations attended the meeting. Palestine was represented by Finance Minister Shukri Bishara.

"The Arab countries and the Arab League play a crucial role. We do have the Arab peace initiative that we always would like to revive. That is an important element in the future plan and negotiations for a two-state solution" he said.

The Norwegian foreign minister said the AHLC had "a successful meeting in Brussels today in a situation where we don't have a political horizon on negotiations related to a two-state solution. The importance of the donor group is even more crucial." Commenting on the French proposal to convene an international conference to resolve the Palestine question he noted that the French government yesterday at the Security Council underlined that they are preparing a meeting of ministers probably early June in Paris to have a discussion on the two-state solution.

"Norway will accept such an invitation and we welcome all initiatives that can lead to recreate a political horizon on negotiations on the two-state solution" he told KUNA.

The AHLC meeting was hosted by EU High Representative Federica Mogherini and chaired by Brende.

The AHLC in a statement expressed "serious concerns" over the damaging consequences of the current political impasse between the parties.

It underlined that economic development cannot be a substitute for a political standoff but stressed the importance of taking significant steps between now and the next AHLC meeting in September to provide a stronger basis for growing the Palestinian economy in order to maintain the viability of the two-state solution.

It called for increased efforts to accelerate reconstruction in Gaza and urged all donors to translate their pledges from the Cairo conference in 2014.

The AHLC called for restoration of unity between the West Bank and Gaza under a single legitimate governing authority.

Meanwhile speaking to reporters before the meeting Mogherini said "the developments on the ground - including settlement expansion - fundamentally challenge the viability of a two-state solution and are also obstacles to the Palestinian economic development. This is a trend that needs to be reversed and urgently." She stressed that the Ad-hoc Liaison Committee for Palestine "plays a very important role here as it contributes to the two-state solution by supporting institution building in preparation for Palestinian statehood." (end) nk.ibi

Norwegian FM calls for revival of Arab Peace Initiative on Palestine

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