Italy Signs 60M Euro Support Agreement with PA

RAMALLAH, September 4, 2013 (WAFA) – Deputy Italian Foreign Minister Lapo Pistelli Wednesday ended a three-day visit to Palestine during which he signed a 60-million-euro agreement with the Palestinian Authority (PA).

Pistelli signed the joint declaration with the Minister of Finance Shukri Bishara, whereby Italy will donate to the PA in the course of three years 30 million euros in the form of grants and another 30 million euros as soft loans.

President Mahmoud Abbas had met with Pistelli in the presidential headquarters in Ramallah on Wednesday and briefed him about the latest developments in the peace process and the Palestinian-Israeli peace talks.

Pistelli told WAFA that the grant will be devoted to three main sectors – gender, health and the start-up project to boost and support new and small Palestinian enterprises.

He affirmed that there is a strong frame work of cooperation between Palestine and Italy.

Pistelli pointed out that during his stay in Ramallah, he opened the first office for commercial arbitration where businesses and people involved in commerce can solve commercial disputes.

Pistelli’s visit included Ramallah, Bethlehem and Gaza, during which he visited some of the projects sponsored by Italy in Ramallah, some UNRWA schools in the Gaza Strip and the Ministry of Tourism in Bethlehem.

According to Pistelli, Italy is currently running some projects in the fields of schools and education in the Gaza Strip under the umbrella of UNRWA.

He said that bilateral relations between Italy and Palestine are at their best, pointing to the Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta’s visit to Palestine in July and President Mahmoud Abbas expected visit to Rome in October.

Pistelli said that he had the chance to exchange views with many of the peace talks officials and negotiators, affirming that “Italy supported, very much and as far as we can, efforts to negotiate in this last window.”

He said, “Last because if we want to succeed 20 years later in pursuing the principles of the two state, it’s a unique moment.”

Pistelli expressed appreciation to the show of political will by Abbas and efforts by the Palestinian negotiators to sit down at the table with no preconditions and to try to use all the time available in order to fulfill the reality of the state of Palestine.

He said that he spoke with some Israeli officials and gave the same message that it is the time to find a good deal to ensure internationally acknowledged borders and security for both Palestinians and Israelis.

“The Palestinians know that we are standing on the side of the PA every time it is pursuing its rights to have a Palestinian state,” he reiterated.

source:WAFA NEWS