The Honourable Maxime Bernier, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today announced at the Conference of Donors for the Palestinian Territories that Canada is increasing support to the peace process through additional assistance to Palestinian reform and development.
“I am pleased to announce that Canada will commit $300 million over the next five years to build security, governance and prosperity,” said Minister Bernier. “Canada was a key participant in the Paris donors’ conference, which continued the momentum created in Annapolis. The Israelis and Palestinians have committed to negotiations to be concluded in one year. While ambitious, I believe this is attainable. Canada came to Paris prepared to play its part.
“To improve security, we will increase our participation in reform of the Palestinian security system in areas including the civilian police, justice and corrections, working in partnership with the United States Security Coordinator and the European Union Coordinating Office for Palestinian Police Support.
“To improve governance, we will support institution-building in the Palestinian Authority and help build a better public service for all Palestinians. We will also work with Canadian and local non-governmental organizations, other actors and the Palestinian Authority to promote tolerance and combat hatred and the incitement of violence.
“And to improve prosperity, we will help to stimulate the Palestinian economy through its private sector.
“Our funding is not unconditional,” said Minister Bernier. “We will need to see demonstrable progress in negotiations by both sides, as well as progress in Palestinian democratic reforms. As the peace process moves forward, Canada will be there, ready to support the parties in doing the essential work that only they can do to achieve our common goal—a viable Palestinian state that is democratic, accountable, and living in peace and security as a neighbour to Israel.”
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A backgrounder follows.
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Canada has long been committed to doing its part in finding a solution to resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Part of that has included our support for the right for Israel to live in peace and security in the region, as well as helping to create a democratic and accountable Palestinian state. As a leader on the important issue of Palestinian refugees, we have examined ways to bring about a just and practical solution to the many challenges, including the possibility of compensation and improvements to the lives and conditions of Palestinian refugees around the world.
The renewed peace process offers everyone an opportunity to resolve one of the most pervasive conflicts that has repercussions for stability in the Middle East and, indeed, the entire world. At the Paris donors’ conference for Palestinians, Canada will be contributing $300 million that will be used to build security, governance and prosperity. This contribution will be conditional on progress in negotiations and Palestinian reforms. In every facet of our work, we will devote special attention to the issues of hatred and incitement of violence, with a view to providing assistance in combatting these problems.
Canada’s assistance will be conditional on sustained progress in the peace process and on measurable progress in Palestinian reforms. In line with Government of Canada policy and Canadian anti-terrorism legislation, Canada will ensure that Canadian funds do not directly or indirectly benefit Hamas or other terrorist groups listed under Canadian law.
In 2006-2007, Canada provided $25 million in programming in the West Bank and Gaza to support a resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, including humanitarian assistance. As well, Canada provided $15 million in support of Palestinian refugees through a provision to the United Nations Relief and Work Agency program, which provides basic services to Palestinian refugees around the world. In addition, Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada’s Global Peace and Security Fund provides support to the United States Security Coordinator’s mission.
Canada will provide support to security sector reform, including capacity building for civilian police and corrections officials, as well as judicial reform. Canada will also increase support to the United States Security Coordinator’s mission. We are also exploring the possibility of supporting the European Union Coordinating Office for Palestinian Police Support (EUCOPPS).
Canada will support the development of democratic, transparent and accountable institutions in the Palestinian Authority. Canada may consider the possibility of direct budgetary support, provided that the appropriate management and accountability mechanisms are in place, and provided that the budget support is targeted primarily for the enhancement of Palestinian governance structures.
Canada will concentrate its efforts on stimulating private sector development as a means to renew the Palestinian economy.
Improving the daily lives of the Palestinian people will bring about a needed change on the ground and strengthen the peace process.