|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
PRESS CONFERENCE BY FOREIGN AFFAIRS MINISTER OF PALESTINIAN NATIONAL AUTHORITY
The Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Palestinian National Authority, Riad al-Malki, stressing the need for all Palestinian factions to come together, said today that the Government of the Palestinian Authority was ready to step down to make way for a government of reconciliation “at the first minute” an agreement was reached.
Speaking at a Headquarters press conference, Mr. Al-Malki said that such a government would be formed from outside the political parties and would be “a government of technocrats, of independents, a government that could continue cooperating with the international community and a government that had one clear mission, to prepare for early elections, both presidential and parliamentary”. During that preparation period, it would also reconstruct security services on a professional, national basis, rather than on a factional one.
Egypt had undertaken to start the reconciliation process, through bilateral dialogue with all Palestinian organizations and movements, and had produced a document reflecting the outcomes of those discussions in preparation for convening a meeting on reconciliation with all factions, he said. The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) had accepted that document without reservation and was committed “to the document, the dialogue and to reconciliation”. Hamas, however, had placed so many conditions on the document that the first session of the meeting was unable to convene.
On 26 November, the League of Arab States would convene a meeting of Foreign Ministers to help advance the process, he said. At their last meeting, they had made it clear that they would not tolerate efforts by one party to “torpedo the whole process”. Mr. Al-Malki hoped that the meeting for reconciliation would be reconvened under the auspices of the Egyptian Government and the umbrella of the Arab League, so that “we could give our people the hope again that the Palestinian family could reunite and the West Bank and Gaza could become again one integral unit of the Palestinian Territory and the future Palestinian State”.
Responding to a question on how a Palestinian State, comprised of two separated territories, would be governed, he said that a free passage corridor would be negotiated with Israel.
On relations with Israel, he reiterated the PLO’s commitment to ending the occupation and to the establishment of “an independent Palestinian State alongside the State of Israel”, he said. Meanwhile, the Security Council must put pressure on Israel to lift its siege and blockade of the Gaza Strip and allow the 1.5 million Palestinians living in Gaza to have a normal life. That included access to electricity, water, medicine, food and basic services.
In response to questions regarding the Security Council’s position on Gaza, Mr. Al-Malki noted the statement made yesterday, 24 November, by the Council President to the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People. He was satisfied with that statement, which had reflected the position of the entire Council, but it now must be followed by action.
Among other questions was one on Fatah’s role with regard to strikes by the educational and health sectors in the Gaza Strip. The strikes were strictly the decision of the unions, he said, which were negotiating with Hamas to resolve them. He noted, in response to a further question, that despite the fact that the Gazan population was only one third of the total Palestinian population, the Palestinian Authority spent 58 per cent of its budget on Gaza’s electricity and water, as well as for 77,000 public workers there.
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