Livni, Qurei, Rice to meet in Berlin

Conference in support of Palestinian Civil Security and the Rule of Law meant as followup to Annapolis.

Livni Rice 224.88 (photo credit: AP)
Livni Rice 224.88
(photo credit: AP)
Following the Annapolis Conference in November, the Paris donors' conference in December, and the Bethlehem Investors Conference in May, the Berlin Conference in support of Palestinian Civil Security and the Rule of Law will convene Tuesday as the international community continues to try to create a supportive umbrella to the diplomatic process. Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, who will attend the conference, is expected to meet on the sidelines with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Palestinian Authority chief negotiator Ahmed Qurei. In addition, the Quartet - the US, EU, Russia and the UN - is scheduled to get together for its first meeting since May, and the first one since the cease-fire went into effect in Gaza. One Israeli official labeled the Berlin parley one of the "confidence-building measures" that the international community has embarked on since Annapolis to keep up the momentum of the diplomatic process. The conferences keep the focus on the diplomatic process, something the official said the international community is likely to see as more important as the Bush administration winds down its tenure. "The idea is to focus the energy of those who want to contribute on something positive," the official said. Representatives from more than 40 countries are expected to attend the conference in Berlin, where money will be raised to fund police training, courts and prisons in the West Bank. This is part of efforts to develope the institutions of a state inside the PA. According to a statement put out by the German Foreign Ministry, the idea of the conference, initiated by German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steineimer, is to give "a clear signal for the development of a functioning Palestinian state with a profile the citizens can see. After all, there can only be a lasting solution to the Middle East conflict if Israel and Palestine live side by side in peace as two independent states." The statement said the idea of the conference was to harness and bolster "international efforts to support the Palestinian security sector." "A state needs more than territory, it needs above all else functioning institutions," the statement said. "Alongside a parliament and government, these include well-equipped security authorities and an independent judiciary." "This is especially true of the Palestinian territories," the statement continued. "Only if the legitimate security interests can be guaranteed, also those of Israel, can the establishment of a state come within reach. And more security for the Palestinians also means more security for Israel." The EU already has a security presence in the West Bank in the form of EUPOL-COPPS, a mission aimed at training Palestinian civil police "in accordance with the best international standards." According to the German statement, the EU wants to extend EUPOL-COPPS and "assume leadership in developing the police and judiciary" inside the PA.