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Source: United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
7 January 1999

Paris, January 7 {No.99-02} - Six projects were signed today by the Israeli government and the Autonomous Palestinian Authorities marking the launch of the Granada II process which aims to contribute to peace-building between Israelis and Palestinians through co-operation in education, science, culture and communication.

The six agreements - signed at midday at the Israeli Foreign Ministry by Yitzhak Lior, a senior Ministry official; Anis Al-Qaq, Deputy Minister of Planning and International Co-operation in the Palestinian Authority; and Daniel Janicot, UNESCO Assistant Director-General lay the ground for joint medical research (on beta thalassaemia, herpes, rabies prevention), music education, interfaith dialogue and tourism.

The Music of Peace project is intended to teach young Palestinians and Israelis to appreciate and perform together the traditional music of their region. The Interfaith Dialogue project reflects the belief that religious differences need not be a source of dispute and that monotheism, common to Judaism, Christianity and Islam, can constitute a bond of solidarity among peoples. A sixth project, on Cultural Tourism, aims to develop tourism and related infrastructure with special focus on Bethlehem and Nazareth, it involves Palestinian and Israeli organisations of both private and public sectors.

During the signing of the six agreements, Mr Janicot expressed appreciation to the government of Spain for its financial contribution to two of the science projects and said that UNESCO is seeking support from other potential donors.

The co-operation projects are part of the Granada II process launched by UNESCO and its Director-General, Federico Mayor. The process "aims to enable Palestinians and Israelis to contribute to building a future of peace by working together on co-operation projects under the auspices of UNESCO," in the words of Mr Mayor. It comes as the direct follow-up to the meeting between Israeli and Palestinian intellectuals, organised by UNESCO in Granada, Spain, in December 1993.

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