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East Asia, other economies start talks on Palestinian development

East Asia, other economies start talks on Palestinian development

03 March 2014 in 2014

Ministers and officials from East Asian countries as well as other economies and international organizations started a conference in Jakarta on Saturday aimed at discussing ways to assist the Palestinian Authority in building its capacity.

The second Conference on Cooperation among East Asian Countries for Palestinian Development, or CEAPAD, is being attended by officials from the Palestinian Authority, Indonesia and other members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Japan, China and South Korea, as well as 13 observer countries and organizations.

Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida said in a statement during an opening session that Japan will extend more than $200 million in assistance for Palestinian development.

Kishida told the conference Japan will make the first disbursement of an aid package totaling about $62 million "as early as this month," including $30 million for financial assistance to the Palestinian governing body and $20 million for infrastructure support.

Further assistance totaling $6.2 million will also be extended in infrastructure aid for the Jericho Agricultural Industrial Park, the flagship project of an initiative to support economic independence for Palestine.

The project, scheduled to start production this summer, is expected to create 7,000 new jobs and "bring benefits to more than 20,000 people in the future," Kishida said.

Japan, according to the minister, will also provide training for about 1,000 Palestinians over the next five years by dispatching instructors to Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand which will accept the trainees for their agriculture and tourism industries.

The conference is being co-hosted by Indonesia, Japan and the Palestinian Authority, which has sent Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah to the event.

Japan, which initiated the establishment of CEAPAD, co-hosted the first conference with the Palestinian Authority in Tokyo last year.

"During the meeting, we will hear what Palestine needs, and based on that, the conference's participants will determine their commitments and concrete contributions related to capacity-building programs to be provided to Palestine," Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa told Kyodo News late Friday.

CEAPAD is designed to support the "two-state solution" to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The 13 observer countries and organizations include the United States, the Arab League, the Islamic Development Bank, the Japan International Cooperation Agency, the World Bank and the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East.

ASEAN groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

Kyodo News International

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