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Source: Canada
28 November 2005



MINISTER PETTIGREW ANNOUNCES PLANS FOR CANADA CENTRE FOR PEACE AND DEMOCRACY IN MIDDLE EAST


Foreign Affairs Minister Pierre Pettigrew today announced plans for a centre to support peace and democracy in the West Bank and Gaza and throughout the Middle East. The Canada Centre for Peace and Democracy is intended to provide a platform for increased Canadian activity with the parties in the area and will allow Canada to work with and support regional authorities. 

“Our goal is to contribute to the foundation of a viable Palestinian state, with a dynamic society and vibrant economy. We want to improve living standards and help create a Palestinian state that includes democracy, the rule of law, strong public administration and good governance,” said Minister Pettigrew.

Canada has already allocated over $36 million this year, as part of its enhanced program of assistance for the Palestinians.

“As the volume of our assistance grows, we need to supplement our diplomatic presence with a broad-based facility that can support our activities in Gaza, the West Bank and throughout the Middle East. The Canada Centre for Peace and Democracy is intended to serve as a concrete symbol of Canada’s dedication to supporting Palestinians in their nation building. We have a long-term commitment to building sustainable peace in the region,” said Minister Pettigrew.

“It is our hope that the Canada Centre will become the focal point of the creative energy and expertise of Canadians involved in capacity building and training in governance, peacebuilding, and other aspects of the Canadian program of assistance in the Middle East,” added the Minister.

“We intend to use the Canada Centre to introduce innovative technologies and solutions to facilitate governance, democratic dialogue and capacity-building enhancement. And, through the use of both on-line and traditional approaches, we hope to facilitate opportunities for Palestinians and citizens of neighbouring countries to engage in joint training initiatives.”
 
Canada will continue to work with both parties to ensure that the Israeli withdrawal leads to a reinvigoration of the Quartet’s Roadmap process and an eventual two-state solution—Israel and a sovereign, independent, viable, democratic and territorially contiguous Palestinian state, living side by side in peace and security.

For further information, media representatives may contact:

James Christoff
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs
(613) 995-1851


Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs Canada
(613) 995-1874

http://www.international.gc.ca

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