Ad Hoc Liaison Committee: Remarks by High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell ahead of the meeting
Check against delivery!
I am very pleased to have this opportunity of hosting this annual session of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee in Brussels with my friend, Norwegian Foreign Minister Huitfeldt, who will be chairing it.
For years, this Committee has offered a coordination mechanism among the main donors to the Palestinian Authority, with a focus on economy and fiscal issues, in the presence – and this is extraordinary – of both Israel and the Palestinian Authority. And I am glad that we have here today the Palestinian Prime Minister [Mohammad Ibrahim Shtayyeh] and the Israeli Minister for Regional Cooperation [Essawi Frej], as well as the major donors involved in the Middle East Peace Process.
This meeting is taking place at the backdrop of a deteriorating situation on the ground. I am sorry to say that but it is the reality - a deteriorating situation on the ground. The recent attacks and violence in Israel and in the Palestinian territories have shown - yet again - the deeply unstable nature of the current reality and confirmed that the situation is not moving – not moving fast enough, or not moving at all - in the right direction.
That is why our aim for this meeting is to get more concrete economic, fiscal, security and political results. Because despite the political complexities, efforts must be made for the political process to restart.
Everyone has to do their utmost to prevent violence, to avoid unilateral actions and rein in the extremism on all sides. This is in the interest of the people, so that they can finally start to live their lives in security, freedom and prosperity. I know these words are important - far away from the reality, but it is the objective. And I hope that we will be able to move towards an intensified level of dialogue between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
With this background, we will discuss many issues, which need to be addressed urgently. The worrying financial crisis of the Palestinian Authority, the need to ease the occupation with more economic and personal freedoms for Palestinians, the clear need for reforms in the Palestinian Authority and the importance of fulfilling the democratic aspirations of the Palestinian people.
I will repeat European concerns about continued settlement expansions – we issued a statement today - demolitions and evictions, as well as about the situation in Gaza.
We will also discuss the worrying tensions and violence in Israel and Palestine. Too many people on all sides have died and suffered this year, in Israel and in the Palestinian territories. Leaders of both sides have a responsibility. They have to act against extremism and to ensure accountability for the acts of violence – and this is not the case.
We will also discuss, Minister, the need to address the root causes of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the responsibility of the parties, the support of their international and regional partners, to prepare - when the time comes - for a peace negotiation process, again.
Thank you, Minister.
Link to the video: https://audiovisual.ec.europa.eu/en/video/I-224818
Chair’s summary issued following the meeting.