"As is" reference - not a United Nations document
The international group of donors to Palestine has expressed its strong support for the new round of negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians 20 years after the Oslo Accords. "The donors want to contribute, but it is the Palestinian and Israeli leaders who are responsible for ensuring that this opportunity is not lost," said Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide.
On 25 September, Mr Eide chaired the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee for Assistance to the Palestinians (AHLC) in New York. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon hosted the meeting, and the parties were represented by Palestinian Minister Rami Hamdallah and Israeli Prime Minister Yuval Steinitz.
"It's extremely good news that a political process is once again underway. At the same time, we know that reaching a solution will be challenging. President Abbas and Prime Minister Netanyahu have taken courageous steps. Time is running out for a two-state solution. This is why everyone must help to ensure that the negotiations reach a successful conclusion," said Mr Eide.
At the meeting, Palestine reported on the status of the peace talks to US Secretary of State John Kerry. EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton, Quartet representative Tony Blair, and numerous ministers from the other donor countries gave their support to the current process.
Steps to ease the closure regime in areas occupied by Israel, Palestinian state-building, private-sector driven economic growth and a political solution to the conflict must be seen as interrelated. The meeting also underlined the importance of making process along all these tracks.
"A peace agreement will be in the fundamental interests of both Israel and Palestine. The donors are prepared to make an extra effort to support the political process. But unless the parties reach agreement this time, the donors will not be able to continue as before. The parties are aware of this fact," said Mr Eide.