17-NOV-1993

Joint Statement Following the First Meeting of the Palestinian-Israel Economic Cooperation Committee

The Palestinian-Israeli Economic Cooperation Committee – which was established and will work and decide in compliance with the Declaration of Principles signed on 13 September 1993 and the decision of the PLO and Israel in their meeting in Cairo on 13 October 1993 – held its first meeting in Paris on 16 November 1993. The Palestinian Delegation was headed by Abu-Ala, Member of the Central Committee of the FATAH Movement and Director General of the Economic and Planning Department of the PLO, and the Israeli by Finance Minister Avraham Shohat. The Co-Chairmen made opening statements reflecting their respective positions.

The two sides reviewed the economic situation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and emphasized the need for rapid progress in the economic condition of the Palestinian people therein. The heads of the two delegations shared the view that there is a correlation between sound economic relationships, based on mutual recognition of each other’s interests and the right of the Palestinian people to execise their economic decision making power in accordance with their economic plans and priorities, and the success of the peace process now on its way.

The delegations agreed that Israel and the Palestinian authority with establish a framework of economic cooperation which will be predicated on the principles of reciprocity, equity and fair economic relationships, as well as the enhancement of the role of the private sector in promoting economic growth, and mutual respect for each party’s economic relations with the other parties.

The Palestinian Delegation emphasized its special economic relationship with the Arab world – particularly Jordan, the international community and the UN bodies.

Both sides decided to accelerate their work so as to meet the objectives agreed upon in the Declaration of Principles and to ensure their implementation. Bearing this in mind, they have agreed upon an agenda for their negotiations which will accommodate their mutual economic interests.

The two delegations have agreed to establish three sub-committees which will deal simultaneously with the following:

1. Trade and Labor

2. Fiscal Matters

3. Finance and Banking

Other sub-committees may also be established.

The two delegations have concurred in the importance of the Multilateral Working Groups’ progress and their contribution to a more stable and prosperous Middle East. They have noted with satisfaction the assistance pledged by the international community as reflected in the resolutions of the Donor’s Conference in Washington and Paris.

The Economic Cooperation Committee and the sub-committees will resume their work next week (23-25 November, 1993) in Paris.

The two delegations have expressed their appreciation of the hospitality provided by the Government of France.