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New Economic Measures To Help Palestinians

UN official welcomes new economic measures to help Palestinians

13 May 2008 - A new package of economic measures aimed at improving the economic situation for Palestinians, announced by Tony Blair, the Representative for the Middle East diplomatic Quartet, has been welcomed today by a top United Nations official in the region.

"I welcome the initial set of measures announced today by Tony Blair, in particular its focus on improving movement and access in opening up trade routes," Robert Serry, who is the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process (UNSCO), said today. "I hope this marks the beginning of improved mobility, economic growth, security and confidence."

According to Mr. Blair's announcement, Israel has agreed to remove some checkpoints across the West Bank. It has also approved thousands of entry permits to Israel for Palestinian workers. Both sides have also agreed to facilitate access to and from Bethlehem, in a measure designed to boost tourism.

Mr. Serry added that "the UN is also giving strong support to the current efforts to achieve a Gaza ceasefire and a reopening of the crossings. Movement forward now is vital in itself, and to sustain the political process at a critical phase."

The Quartet, which is chaired by the UN Secretary-General, comprises the UN, the European Union, Russia and the United States.

ENDS

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