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Sweden Increases Aid To The Palestinian People

Sweden increases aid to the Palestinian people

"The Government is increasing aid to the Palestinians by an additional SEK 90 million. Sweden is currently one of the single largest donors to the Palestinian people and our ambition is to continue as such in the future as well. The increase means that Sweden's total aid will amount to some SEK 670 million in 2007 and close to SEK 700 million in 2008.

"In order to achieve success, the peace negotiations that resumed in Annapolis on 27 November must be combined with extensive measures to strengthen the Palestinian National Authority. Today's discussions in Paris are an important step in this process."

This statement was made by Minister for Foreign Affairs Carl Bildt on Monday when a large number of countries gathered in Paris to provide concrete and firm support to the work on constructing a Palestinian state.

New Palestinian reform and development plan

At today's donor conference in Paris, Prime Minister Salam Fayyad will present a Palestinian reform and development plan for 2008-2010. Its focus will be on such matters as the rule of law, more transparent exercise of public authority and improving the efficiency of public sector services.

The international community plays a central role in strengthening the Palestinian institutions, but the main responsibility for this naturally rests with the parties. Reform of the Palestinian National Authority's administration, as well as continued efforts to tackle corruption, are necessary.

A series of reports - the most recent by the World Bank - have documented the increasingly serious economic and social situation in the West Bank. And in his address in Annapolis, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon strongly warned about the consequences of the isolation of Gaza, which is unacceptable in humanitarian terms.

ENDS

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