Blair aid designed to boost Annapolis
AN ARRAY of economic projects aimed at providing jobs for thousands of Palestinians and improving conditions in the territories have been announced by Quartet envoy Tony Blair.
Among the projects agreed during a meeting between Mr Blair, Palestinian Prime Minister Salaam Fayyad and Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak are the construction of an agro-industrial park in Jericho, emergency sewerage work in Gaza, and housing and educational developments in the Palestinian territories.
Decisions on financing the projects — the first major initiatives since Mr Blair took up his post in June — are expected to be discussed at next month’s international donors’ meeting in Paris.
The former British Prime Minister said the aim was to create more jobs and greater prosperity “for the ordinary Palestinian on the ground”. In doing this, he said “we do not separate the economic from the political or either from security concerns. We simply say... we should give impetus to economic progress.”
Mr Blair said the projects would employ tens of thousands of Palestinians and were designed to give a feeling that “things could change on the ground”. A British official described the plan as a “quick-impact project”, designed to give impetus to the forthcoming Annapolis summit in America.