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(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
President of the Manufacturers Association of Israel Shraga Brosh called upon Tony Blair, the International Quartet's Middle East envoy, to hold an economic regional summit parallel to the upcoming US-sponsored peace conference to forge closer cooperation between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
In a meeting with Blair on Wednesday, Brosh suggested that the summit headed by Blair parallel to the peace conference planned for November in Washington, would include business people from Israel, the Palestinian Authority, Jordan, Egypt and other business representatives in the region. Brosh recommended to Blair that the summit be organized in form of roundtables, each representing a different sector, which would include industry, trade, insurance, banking, transport, services and traditional industry such as textile, food and furniture.
Blair, who arrived in Israel on Tuesday for a regional tour in the build-up to a US-sponsored peace conference, agreed to consider Brosh's suggestion and promised to get back with an answer following talks with the Israeli government, the chairman of the Palestinian Authority and the American partners.
On Wednesday, Blair also met with the Ankara Forum for Economic Cooperation, which plans to establish a joint Israel-PA industrial park in the West Bank.
The Ankara Forum is a joint initiative between Israel, Turkey and the Palestinian Authority that seeks, as its primary objective, to foster economic cooperation between Israel and the PA, such as the 2006 transformation of the Erez Industrial Park into a Palestinian Industrial Free Zone.