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State´s Burns Meets With Palestinian Leaders in Ramallah (U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE) 01/27/05)Source: http://usinfo.state.gov/mena/Archive/2005/Jan/27-704354.html U.S. STATE DEPT. U.S. STATE DEPT. Articles-Index-TopPublishers-Index-Top
Says U.S. wants to revive "a sense of economic hope" for Palestinians

Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs William Burns met individually in Ramallah with Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas and Prime Minister Ahmad Quraya’ January 27.

Burns also participated in the inauguration of a USAID-funded maternal health care project.

Following are the transcripts of Assistant Secretary Burns’ remarks following his meetings with the two Palestinian leaders, and at the inauguration of the health care project:

American Consulate General Jerusalem – Public Affairs Section

Statement by Assistant Secretary William Burns following his meeting with Palestinian Authority President Mahmud Abbas
Ramallah, January 27, 2005

I am happy to be back in Ramallah. I’ve just finished an excellent meeting with President Abbas. I expressed again the American view that we have before us the most promising moment of opportunity that any of us have seen in recent years. I stressed the importance that the United States attaches to taking advantage of that opportunity and doing everything we can to help.

I expressed to President Abbas our congratulations, once again, not only for his election as the president of the Palestinian Authority but also to all Palestinians for the way in which those elections were conducted. I think it’s an achievement of which Palestinians can be very proud, and it’s a reminder to all of us that Palestinians do indeed have the capacity for responsible governance and for statehood.

I stressed again that the United States, and President Bush in particular, are very encouraged by the recent steps that President Abbas and the Palestinian leadership have taken and continue to take on security, to restore law and order for Palestinians, and to make progress and to establish a cease-fire.

The United States is determined to do what it can to help in the security area. We’re encouraged by the reaction of the Israeli government so far and also by what was a constructive discussion between the two sides yesterday.

The United States is also looking for ways in which we can help on an urgent basis economically, both in accelerating our assistance and seeking additional assistance for the Palestinians, and revive a sense of economic hope for Palestinians, who, as you know better than I do, have faced a situation which has gone from bad to worse under occupation in recent years.

There is more that others can do to help as well. Some of the Gulf Arab states, for example, have made commitments to the Palestinian Authority to provide financial support, and we urge them and others to act.

There is more the Israelis can do, too, as the security situation improves, to ease closures, to remove checkpoints, to enable freedom of movement for Palestinians in the West Bank as well as in Gaza.

It’s our view that progress on all these fronts can create a solid foundation for a successful, coordinated implementation of Israel’s Gaza withdrawal initiative – not as an end in itself, but as a step toward the full implementation of the roadmap and ultimately toward a negotiated end of occupation and toward the two state solution that is so deeply in the interests of Palestinians as well as Israelis. Thank you again very much.(end transcript)

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American Consulate General Jerusalem – Public Affairs Section

Statement by Assistant Secretary William Burns following his meeting with Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmad Quraya’ (Abu Ala’a)
Ramallah, January 27, 2005

This is the most promising moment for progress between Palestinians and Israelis that any of us have seen in recent years. It’s essential for all of us to do everything we can to take advantage of that opportunity, and the United States, for its part, is determined to do all we can to help both the Israelis and the Palestinians.

I’ve offered my congratulations once again to the Palestinian Authority and to the Palestinian people for the conduct of the elections earlier this month. It’s an achievement of which all Palestinians can be very proud, and it’s a very clear demonstration, it seems to me, of the capacity of Palestinians for responsible governance and for statehood.

The United States, as President Bush has made clear, is very encouraged by the recent steps that President Abbas, Prime Minister Qurei and the Palestinian leadership have taken on security, toward the restoration of law and order for Palestinians, and in establishing the basis for a cease-fire. We’re also encouraged by the Israeli reaction to those steps and by what we understand was a constructive meeting between the two sides yesterday.

The United States, as I said, is determined to help. We’re going to help in terms of rebuilding the security capacity of Palestinians. We want to help in terms of accelerating our economic assistance and searching for additional assistance for Palestinians to revive a sense of economic hope, which is also a very important part of taking advantage of the moment of opportunity before us.

We also want to work with others, for example the Gulf Arab states, who have made commitments to the Palestinians to help economically, and we’ll urge them to help all of us take advantage of this opportunity.

And of course the Israelis, as progress is made on security, also have obligations: to ease closures and remove checkpoints, and to make freedom of movement easier for Palestinians under occupation.

So in all of these areas we want to try and do all we can to help. We have no illusions. Such moments of opportunity are fragile. But we’re encouraged by the steps that have been taken so far, and the United States is determined to do everything it can to help. Thank you very much.

(end transcript)

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American Consulate General Jerusalem – Public Affairs Section

Statement by Assistant Secretary William Burns On the Inauguration of a USAID-funded Maternal Health Care Project in Ramallah January 27, 2005

Minister Tibi, ladies and gentlemen, I am delighted to join you to inaugurate this project, which is part of a $21m effort to improve health care for women and children throughout the West Bank and Gaza.

I want to congratulate the Ministry of Health, USAID, John Snow International and – especially – all the dedicated Palestinian professionals at this clinic and others like it.

I hardly need to tell any of you how difficult the last few years have been for Palestinians under occupation, a time in which living conditions have gone from bad to worse. But now we have before us a moment of opportunity, a chance to revive hope. As President Bush begins his second term, the United States is determined to increase our efforts to take advantage of this opportunity.

We are determined to help on many levels:

--to help build responsible institutions in preparation for statehood, of which Palestinians are perfectly capable, as demonstrated in this month’s elections;

--to help restore law and order and stop the violence which has done so much to undermine the legitimate aspirations of Palestinians;

--to work with Israel on steps they need to take to improve the situation, to ease closures and remove checkpoints and enable freedom of movement, to fulfill Israeli obligations as the PA shows its seriousness;

--to help revive hopes for peace, and progress along the roadmap toward a negotiated end to the occupation and a two state solution;

--and, not least, to revive economic hope, to improve the daily lives of Palestinians in ways they can see and feel.

This project is one part of that effort. Such programs are not new. Over more than a decade, the U.S. has contributed nearly one and a half billion dollars in assistance to the Palestinians.

Now, after four difficult years, the U.S. is committed to do more. We are looking for ways to accelerate assistance, and to seek additional aid from the Congress. In improving health care for women and children, and in actions in many other areas of Palestinian economy and society, we will try to show in practical, tangible ways that life is getting better, and hope is returning.

Again, congratulations, and thank you for allowing me to join you today. Created: 27 Jan 2005 Updated: 27 Jan 2005 (usinfo.state.gov 01/27/05)


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