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11 July 2002
Note to correspondents
High level meeting on ILO technical assistance
to Palestinian workers

Thursday 11 July 2002

( ILO/02/36 )

GENEVA (ILO News) - A high-ranking delegation from the Occupied Arab Territories will meet the Director-General of the International Labour Office (ILO), Juan Somavia, on 12 July to discuss urgent plans for technical assistance, especially the establishment of a Palestinian Fund for Employment and Social Protection.

Among the officials Mr. Somavia is expected to meet are the Minister of Labour of the Palestinian National Authority, Dr. Ghassan El-Khateeb, and representatives of the trade unions, employers and the Permanent Observer Mission of Palestine in Geneva.

In a letter to the ILO Director-General, the President of the Palestinian National Authority, Yasser Arafat, strongly supported an integrated programme of technical cooperation for the benefit of Palestinian workers.

There will be a press briefing on the meeting on Friday, 12 July, at 3.30 p.m. at the Palais des Nations in press room III. Interested journalists are cordially invited to attend. The Minister of Labour of the Palestinian Authority, Dr. El-Khateeb, will be present.

The ILO currently has a range of technical assistance programmes in the Occupied Arab Territories and is to begin immediately to expand efforts aimed at stimulating employment, especially of youth, and building the capacity of social partners. In his closing remarks to the 90th annual International Labour Conference, Mr. Somavia said the ILO would "endeavour to contribute to easing the humanitarian crisis in the occupied territories and the reconstruction of a social foundation for peace".

At the latest session of the ILO's Governing Body on 21 June, the representative of the workers' group, Leroy Trotman, urged the ILO to implement a technical cooperation programme in the Occupied Arab Territories by using financial surplus funds available for emergency activities, and asked member States to contribute generously towards the establishment of a Palestinian Fund for Employment and Social Protection. The proposal was supported by the employer and government representatives.

Updated by CL. Approved by KMK. Last update: 11 July 2002.

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