Premier séminaire intergouvernemental franco-palestinien
Avec les Palestiniens, la France agit pour : la paix, un État palestinien viable, un État israélien vivant en sécurité.
French-Palestinian Intergovernmental Seminar - Paris, September 10th, 2015
Bearing in mind the shared vision of the two-state solution and building on the longstanding solidarity between the French and Palestinian peoples and the vast mutual cooperation in many fields, the two sides led by their Prime Ministers, convened today their first seminar.
The two Prime Ministers stressed their common belief that reaching a just and comprehensive resolution to the Palestinian-Israeli question is a strategic objective for peace and security in the entire region. For this purpose, the Prime Minister of Palestine H.E Rami Hamdallah commended the unceasing French efforts to recreate a credible political horizon. He renewed the full Palestinian support for the French idea of creating an international support group, noting the necessity of major Europeans partners to be involved in discussions alongside major Arab partners.
This seminar was also an exceptional occasion for the two parties to recommit themselves to expanding their cooperation and to further deepening their bilateral relations. The two Prime Ministers discussed a wide range of issues related to these relations, including their common actions to prefigure the institutions of a Palestinian State and to help build Palestinian capabilities.
1) Political Dialogue
The two sides commended this first intergovernmental seminar that reflects the progress made in strengthening their bilateral relationship and decided to pursue intense and periodical political dialogue. In this vein, the two sides welcomed the signing of the protocol on political consultations.
Palestine is one of the first recipients in the world of the French Government budgetary support, which actively contributes to Palestinian State building. The two sides welcome the signing of an 8 M€ budget support agreement, which reaffirms the constant engagement of the French Republic in Palestine and brings the total amount of French aid to Palestine to about 40M€ for 2015. Both sides renew their support to the institute of public finance, funded by the French Republic.
3) Economic Cooperation
The two sides welcomed the level reached by their bilateral economic partnership and expressed their desire to strengthen it in order to enhance exchanges and links between their economies and companies. The Industrial Zone of Bethlehem inaugurated by the Palestinian Prime Minister and the Minister of Economy of the French Republic on September 7th is emblematic of the willingness to support the Palestinian private sector. The two sides expressed their satisfaction regarding the success of the French grant project that allows Palestinian companies to buy French equipment and services. The two sides agreed to prepare its extension for the coming weeks/months. They also agreed to start shortly negotiations of a foreign investment protection agreement in order to further boost bilateral economic relations.
4) Decentralized Cooperation
Decentralized cooperation between the French Republic and Palestine is an integral part of France’s support to Palestine. Palestine is the first beneficiary of France’s local authorities’ development efforts representing an amount estimated at approximately € 3 million annually. The French Republic and Palestine welcomed the conference on Franco-Palestinian decentralized cooperation due to take place on the 22nd and 23rd of October in Paris. Both sides expressed their satisfaction regarding the successful implementation of the joint financial instrument dedicated to support decentralized cooperation. Both sides also welcomed the signing of an agreement to support the Municipal Development and Lending fund via the French Development Agency (AFD) for 6M€.
5) Cooperation in the Water Sector
The French Republic is heavily involved in supporting the Palestinian water sector through the AFD, that supports 8 running projects in West Bank and Gaza. The two sides welcomed the signing of an agreement on the Hebron Governorate Regional Wastewater Management Project.
6) Cooperation in the Fields of Education and Higher Education
The two sides underlined the importance of the French school project in Ramallah launched during the visit of the President of the French Republic to Palestine in November 2013 and agreed to continue the coordination, including through the creation of a steering committee, between all parties in order to open first classes in September 2016.
The Prime Ministers agreed to convene the Intergovernmental seminar once every two years, alternately, in France and in Palestine.