April 6, 2013 – Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird today made the following statement:
“Canada’s disagreement with the unilateral path the Palestinians pursued at the United Nations last fall remains. That said, I came to Ramallah to personally express my continued support for security and economic improvements made in recent years and my desire to continue meaningful engagement with the Palestinian Authority.
“Canada committed $300 million over five years with a focus on assisting security and development in the West Bank. Some of the projects are still underway, and I assured Palestinian leaders that we will see our existing commitments through.
“Today, I listened carefully and with great interest to Palestinian leaders’ plans and priorities for the future, and their thoughts on how Canada might assist. I will reflect upon their views and deliberate with my Cabinet colleagues, including of course Minister Fantino, on a way forward.
“We remain of the view that negotiations without preconditions are the ideal track to secure lasting peace.”
In Ramallah, Minister Baird met with Palestinian Authority leaders President Mahmoud Abbas, Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki.
He then met with Quartet Representative Tony Blair in Jerusalem.
Canada remains committed to a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestinian matter, one reached through a negotiated agreement that guarantees Israel’s right to live in peace and security and leads to the establishment of a Palestinian state.