Donor nations agree PA ready for statehood

Int’l forum calls for renewed talks; Fayyad asks for $5b. over three years, calls assessment ‘birth certificate’ for state.

salam fayyad_311 reuters (photo credit: REUTERS/Abed Omar Qusini)
salam fayyad_311 reuters
(photo credit: REUTERS/Abed Omar Qusini)
Major donor nations in Brussels on Wednesday agreed that the Palestinian Authority is ready for statehood but urged it to achieve this goal through a negotiated solution with Israel rather than unilateral action.
“The PA is above the threshold for a functioning state in key sectors” based on assessments by the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the United Nations, the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee said in a statement it released after a meeting it held to assess the economic and institutional capacity of the PA.
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The committee reaffirmed its “support for negotiations to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in full compliance with road map obligations.”
PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad told reporters after the meeting that the committee’s assessment “amounts to a birth certificate on the reality of Palestinian statehood.
“The objective was to be ready for statehood by late summer 2011,” and that goal had been achieved ahead of that date, he said.
“What today’s meeting did was to recognize the reality of that state, that we have in fact crossed that threshold of readiness for statehood,” Fayyad said. “That is very important and significant.”
He said the meeting in Brussels was a “historic one” that politically validated his government’s efforts over the past two years.
Palestinians already issued a declaration of statehood in 1988, Fayyad said.
“We are not looking for yet another declaration of statehood, nor are we looking for a virtual state,” he said.
“What we are looking for again is a genuine, fully sovereign state of Palestine on the territory occupied in 1967,” Fayyad said.
“The whole world needs to take full advantage of what today’s meeting has done in terms of recognition [of PA readiness for statehood] and to project that into a force that could propel the political process and move it forward in ways that could make it deliver at long last on that which it should have delivered on already, an end to the Israeli occupation,” he said.
Fayyad spoke amid a Palestinian campaign for recognition of statehood, without the agreement of Israel, at the United Nations in September.
The PA has refused to negotiate with Israel unless Israel first halts all Jewish construction in the West Bank and east Jerusalem.
In Brussels on Wednesday, major Western powers told the PA that despite their support of Palestinian readiness for statehood, they stood behind direct negotiations as the best way to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The Quartet’s envoy Tony Blair said the only way to Palestinian statehood was through negotiations.
But he said negotiations were not enough and that it must go together with Palestinian institutional capacity to run such a state.
“There is really only one alternative that brings about a Palestinian state, credible political negotiations,” Blair said.
He added that it was urgent to revive talks soon.
“The change that has happened is that in the West Bank and under the PA authority it has been shown how such a state can take shape and come into being,” he said.
Irit Ben-Abba of the Foreign Ministry welcomed the consensus on the importance of a negotiated solution, which it believes is the only way to solve the conflict.
“Israel congratulates the PA for the achievement in institutional-building and capacity; most it was done through measures taken by the government of Israel to ease access and movement in the West Bank and the crossings,” she said.
At the meeting, Fayyad asked the donor nations for $5 billion over the next three years.
Pledges for that sum would only be made at donor conference in Paris in June, but the EU said on Wednesday that it would give the PA 300 million euros in 2011.