THE THIRD Ministerial Meeting of the Conference on Cooperation among East Asian Countries for Palestinian Development (CEAPAD) yesterday confirmed its commitment to support Palestinian development while raising grave concerns over tensions in the wake of the recent relocation of the US embassy to Jerusalem.
Japan, which co-chaired the conference with Thailand and Palestine in a Bangkok hotel, called for more participation of members in the second phase of the Jericho Agro-Industrial Park (JAIP) in the West Bank, |to expand economic development and create jobs for Palestinians.
Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono co-chaired the conference with his Thai counterpart Don Pramudwinai and Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Malki to mobilise support from member-countries and the international community in boosting living standards for Palestinians.
“The participants expressed deep concern over recent developments in Palestine and recognised the situation is a substantial obstacle to the state building efforts of Palestine as well as peace through the two-state solution,” said a joint statement issued after the meeting yesterday.
The statement did not elaborate but plainly referred to the relocation of the US Embassy to Jerusalem in May, a move that triggered protests in Gaza that led to an Israeli crackdown that killed scores of Palestinians.
Japan has taken a leading role in the conference since CEAPAD launched in 2013 with the aim of mobilising the resources and experience of economic development in East Asia countries to aid Palestine’s progress.
The conference also drew representatives from Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, South Korea, the United Nations, the World Bank and Islamic Development Bank. Cooperation from Israel and Jordan are also crucial to its aims, a Japanese official |said.
At the meeting, Japan called for cooperation and participation in the JAIP. Tokyo has provided over $21 million for the development of the Agro-Industrial Park since 2008.
Located in the West Bank near the Jordan border, the industrial park has created jobs for more than 200 Palestinians. The second phase, which started recently, will create another 3,400 jobs, says the Palestine Authority.