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Palestinian Territories Open For Business - UK PM

Palestinian territories "open for business"

There are "real economic opportunities" in the Middle East and a chance to build "peace and prosperity" across the region, Gordon Brown has said.

Speaking at an event to promote economic development in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Mr Brown said that he wanted Palestinians to have an economic stake in a "peaceful future".

The PM said he had seen at first hand on visits to the region the need, potential and opportunity for new investment to make a difference.

The event at the Mayfair Hotel in London was attended by the Palestinian PM Salam Fayyad, Development Secretary Douglas Alexander and Tony Blair.

Mr Brown thanked the former PM, who is now Middle East envoy for the Quartet of the EU, Russia, United States and United Nations, for his contribution. Mr Blair would do "everything in his power" to bring about change in the Middle East, he said.

Although bullish about economic conditions in the Palestinian territories, the PM called on Hamas to stop rocket attacks and on the Palestinian Authority to step up security.

He added that Israel should lift its restrictions on Gaza and do more to prevent illegal settlement activity on Palestinian land, as the economic goals sat alongside the aim of building an independent Palestinian side-by-side with a safe and secure Israel.

Mr Brown said in closing:

"My message is very clear: there is an economic prize before us. There is a double dividend for you as companies and the Palestinian people. There is a real chance to build on the ingenuity, skills and the commitment of Palestinians to build peace and prosperity across the region.

"It is a challenge that many companies I hope will now take up, and it is a challenge that can not only make a difference to the economic livelihoods of so many people who need our help, but also make a difference to peace throughout the world."

ENDS

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