Canadian FM pledges funds for Karni crossing

Peter MacKay meets Jordanian counterpart, says Canada supports "any bilateral or international parties that would participate in solving the Mideast problem."

peter mackay (photo credit: AP)
peter mackay
(photo credit: AP)
Canadian Foreign Minister Peter MacKay arrived in Israel from Jordan Saturday for a four-day visit and immediately announced a pledge of $1.2 million to buy equipment for the Karni border crossing to the Gaza Strip. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reported that MacKay announced the pledge after meeting in Jerusalem with Lt.-Gen. Keith Dayton, the US security coordinator for the region. Dayton is focusing on upgrading the Karni crossing to ensure the unencumbered passage of goods. Canadians, according to the CBC, make up about one-fifth of Dayton's staff. MacKay met in Amman on Saturday with his Jordanian counterpart, Abdul-Ilah al-Khatib, and with Prime Minister Marouf al-Bakhit. MacKay said Canada supported "any bilateral or international parties that would participate in solving the Mideast problem," and added that Jordan had an "effective role" to play in solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. On Friday, MacKay met with Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas in Amman. During the meeting, Abbas underscored his rejection of a transitional Palestinian state with temporary borders, a proposal floated by some Israeli officials as a way to give the diplomatic process a push. MacKay is scheduled to hold meetings in Ramallah on Sunday, as well as visit Yad Vashem and meet with Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Vice Premier Shimon Peres. On Monday he is scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, as well as with opposition leader Binyamin Netanyahu and Internal Security Minister Avi Dichter. "Our message in the region is clear: We support efforts that will lead to a peaceful and comprehensive resolution to the Arab-Israeli conflict, including the creation of a Palestinian state," MacKay was quoted as saying in a news release issued by the Foreign Affairs department in Ottawa. MacKay is also scheduled to address the Herzliya Conference on Monday. AP contributed to this report.