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José Manuel Durão Barroso

President of the European Commission

Statement by President Barroso following his meeting with Salam Fayyad, Prime Minister of the Palestinian National Authority

Joint press point

Brussels, 13 July 2010

Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen,

It is pleasure to welcome Prime Minister Fayyad to the European Commission. We have had a very fruitful discussion today.

Our meeting is a sign of the strong political and financial commitment of Europe and the Commission in particular to the Palestinian Authority and especially to Prime Minister Fayyad's leadership in building a democratic and viable Palestinian state.

Palestinian statehood is critical for any peaceful, workable and lasting resolution.

We discussed this state-building and our continued European support for it today.

The European Union has already frontloaded €158.5 million of aid to cover social payments and salaries of the Palestinian Authority.

In addition to this budget support, we will provide a package of €71 million for development projects this year, in direct support of state-building.

For example, the EU already supports the Palestinian police with vital equipment and training. We fund the creation of an efficient judiciary. We continue to support Prime Minister Fayyad's efforts to improve the financial administration. We work on border security and invest in the crucial sector of water management.

Finally, I can confirm an extra €20 million to cover specific needs while we explore further possibilities.

We do, however, urge other donors to fully deliver on their pledges too. If we want peace to take root, we all have to contribute.

We also discussed, Prime Minister Fayyad and myself, the broader picture in the region.

Despite the encouraging statement by the Government of Israel on 20 June and the publication of the negative list of goods allowed to Gaza, the situation in Gaza remains so far fundamentally unchanged.

Improving the economic situation in the Gaza Strip is not simply a matter of letting in aid - it is a matter of revitalizing the local economy.

That requires the opening of additional border crossings, so that infrastructure, hospitals and schools can be rebuilt, raw materials can flow in and exports can flow out. As we have repeatedly stated, the EU is ready to support Israel and the Palestinian Authority in the opening of land crossings.

However, we should keep in mind the political process: proximity talks shall continue. For this, parties need to put forward confidence building measures.

In this respect, I have to express my deep concern about the latest developments in East Jerusalem. Those are counterproductive developments. Settlements and the demolition of homes are illegal. They are against international law. They constitute an obstacle to peace and threaten to make a two-state solution impossible. I call on all parties to refrain from measures which may undermine the talks.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Let me again commend Prime Minister Fayyad for his incredibly important work and his leadership.

The European Commission will continue to work side by side with him and his government to lay the foundations for a Palestinian State.

Thank you.

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