RAMALLAH, November 20, 2014 (WAFA) – Consul General of Belgium, Bruno Jans, praised the significant role the local authorities in Palestine play in the developing process of the state of Palestine, which he stressed consequently makes them a major priority for foreign actors.
During the opening reception of the ‘International Conference of Local Authorities in solidarity with the Palestinian People’, titled, “Local Authorities at the Heart of Palestine” The Belgium Counsel General said that, “In Palestine, more than anywhere else, local authorities symbolize the oldest level of local territorial development as there appears to be key stakeholders and driving force in the development process.”
“Today in Ramallah, local authorities in Palestine and counterparts from over 38 countries are meeting to work jointly not only to enhance the Palestinian local government’s role, governance and institutions, but also to improve the delivery of services to the population,” said Jans.
He expressed hope to see operational outcome from the conference, adding that, “through exchange of experience and expertise among participants, through new ways of solidarity, and through the sharing of common vision ‘we’ sincerely hope that this conference will provide an additional emphasis to the territorial development and local integration in order to better prepare for the future.
He also expressed support for the Palestinian authority’s return to Gaza.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, addressed the international delegations participating at the conference, welcoming them on behalf of president Mahmoud Abbas, and stressed his pride and pleasure to see this elite groups of Palestine’s friendly countries coming together in solidarity with the Palestinian people and their legitimate national rights.
“This conference comes at a time our public and private institutions are playing a great role in laying the foundations of the state of Palestine,” he stressed.
He convened his thanks for the delegations efforts to attend the conference despite of Israel’s disruption and obstacles. Over 100 international key figures were delayed by the Israeli side, either at the Israeli Lod airport or at the Allenby Bridge crossing between Jordan and the West Bank, and could not attend the opening reception.
The French and Chilean delegations were delayed for almost four hours by the Israeli intelligence.
He stressed that this conference is part of the international movement to support the Palestinian people, end the Israeli occupation, and enable ‘us’ to determine our destiny of living in freedom, security , and pride on the land of our sovereign independent state of Palestine.
“we convene today at a time the Palestinian cities and villages look forward to get rid of the injustice of the Israeli occupation, the terrorism of settlers and the continued settlement expansion and building of the apartheid wall…at a time Gaza is still struggling to shake off the destruction left behind by the latest 51-day Israeli aggression against it.”
He stressed that a major workshop, which include projects implemented with the help of brotherly and friendly country and international institutions, is underway to reconstruct the strip and relief the suffering of its people.
Meanwhile, Governor of Jerusalem Adnan Husseini, stressed that this international conference in solidarity with the Palestinian people proves that the world is knowledgeable about what actually goes on the ground in Palestine, stressing the important role local authorities worldwide can play in supporting our just demands.
“We hope that after you are aware of what is going on in Palestine, particularly Jerusalem, you will have a stand in your own country in order to grant justice to the Palestinian people,” he stressed.
This conference will officially start on Friday till Saturday and will host over 250 Arab and international political figures, members of parliament, mayors and local authorities’ representatives, as well as experts in all different aspects, from across the world continents. It will also be attended by Palestinian key figures.
The conference, run under the auspices of the United Nations International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, will take place in Ramallah on Friday with the attendance of president Mahmoud Abbas, who is scheduled to deliver a speech to the visiting delegations.
The UN General Assembly declared 2014 the International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People on the 26th of November 2013.