Remarks by EU High Representative Catherine Ashton following her
meeting with Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad
Prime Minister, I am delighted to welcome you back to Brussels today. The last time we met, in October, the negotiations for the new European Neighbourhood Policy Action Plan had just concluded, and I am very pleased to announce that the Council adopted the plan yesterday.
This Action Plan is a result of a shared commitment to deepen our bilateral relations and strengthen our privileged partnership. We discussed today how best to implement the shared objectives of this Action Plan, particularly the objective to launch agreement for a fully-fledged Association Agreement.
But as you know Mr Prime Minister, it is not just about that – it is also about a commitment to a Palestinian state based on the rule of law and respect for human rights; it's about working towards sustainable economic development, about achieving fiscal consolidation and enhancing social cohesion throughout Palestine. It is also about focusing our efforts on East Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip and Area C.
I am delighted that the Prime Minister and I will now sign a €7 million financing agreement precisely for this purpose. This agreement is aimed at supporting the Palestinian presence and promoting social and economic development in Area C, which we all know is of crucial importance for the economic viability of Palestine.
I'm looking forward to working constructively with all partners towards a significant change in Area C.
And I am looking forward especially today to continue the discussions with you Prime Minister when we meet in the framework of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee.