Norway and Egypt to host donor conference for Gaza
‘The Governments of Egypt and Norway, supported by President Mahmoud Abbas, have decided to co-host a conference on Palestine with a focus on the reconstruction of Gaza. The invitations to the conference, to be held in Cairo, will be duly extended once an agreement on a sustainable ceasefire has been reached as a result of the ongoing talks in Cairo,’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende.
‘The people of Gaza are suffering, and there is an urgent need for emergency relief. The UN and NGOs have already begun working on this, with the support of Norway, among others. The basic infrastructure must be repaired so that the people have access to electricity, water and sanitation,’ said Mr Brende.
The work of assessing the damage caused by the recent hostilities is underway. The damage is extensive, and greater than after the 2008–2009 war. This is the third time the donors are being asked to contribute to the reconstruction of Gaza.
‘Egypt and Norway are organising this conference in order to provide political support for a lasting ceasefire. At the same time, the donors intend to send a clear signal that the fundamental situation in Gaza must be changed. Gaza cannot be simply rebuilt in the same way as it has been before. The international community cannot necessarily be expected to contribute to yet another reconstruction effort,’ said Mr Brende.
‘Gaza’s borders must be opened to allow both people and goods to pass through. Fishermen must be allowed to fish. Farmland must be cultivated. Economic growth, jobs and a higher standard of living must be created. Meanwhile, the security of the civilian population must be safeguarded both within and outside Gaza. Keeping the population confined and on the verge of starvation does not provide security for Gaza’s neighbours,’ said Mr Brende.
‘The donors want President Mahmoud Abbas to be the recipient of the aid. His Unity Government of technocrats must be responsible for the reconstruction. When Palestine is reunited under a single government headed by President Abbas, one of the obstacles to a two-state solution will have been removed,’ said Foreign Minister Brende.