Vienna, 16 December 2007 - At the invitation of French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik will participate in the major donor conference for the Palestinian Territories to be held on 17 December in Paris, which will bring together more than 80 countries. "The Middle East Conference in Annapolis at the end of November was a decisive step towards peace and stability in the Middle East. We must now leverage and support this dynamic development. In this process Europe will continue its long-term commitment to its neighbouring countries: a turnaround towards peace in the Middle East will also mean more security for Europe," stated Plassnik.
"Our priority goal is to give the people in the Palestinian Territories concrete perspectives and strengthen their striving for peace. The moderate forces must be encouraged to take the necessary steps with courage," continued Plassnik. "I am confident that the international community will show determination and send out a visible signal that the political efforts will be accompanied and supported by financial pledges. After Annapolis, Paris could become another milestone," stated the Foreign Minister.
"But we also oblige our Palestinian partners to be efficient. The EU action strategy will pool the European measures in a sensible way. The Palestinian Minister of Finance, Salam Fayyed, has submitted a detailed reform and development plan for the Palestinian Territories over the next three years. It is imperative that this plan be supported," the Foreign Minister stressed.
"Austria has been committed to the Palestinian Territories for many years," emphasised Plassnik. "Our commitment comprises a focus on areas such as health, water, capacity building and humanitarian aid. The building of efficient administrative structures is a precondition for creating a viable Palestinian state and thus a prerequisite for the two-state solution sought by the international community of states," concluded the Foreign Minister.
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