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Ramallah visit

August 7, 2012

With Palestinian Prime Minister Dr Salam Fayyad in Ramallah on August 6, 2012

Below is my statement to the press about my visit to Ramallah yesterday, August 6:

I am very pleased to be here in Ramallah, it is my first visit as Minister for Foreign Affairs.

I am proud to say that in Australia I have attended every Palestinian national day commemoration since the early 1990s, and I’m looking forward later today, apart from meeting the Prime Minister and the President, to re-engaging with Ms Hanan Ashrawi who I was honoured to give a peace prize to in Sydney in 2003 in conditions of some controversy.

We had a good meeting today, the Foreign Minister and I, in which we exchanged views on the peace process, Australia’s development assistance to the Palestinians and regional developments, especially in Syria, where we have been able to confirm, tragically, the death of seventeen Palestinians since June.

I will continue these discussions throughout the afternoon.

With Dr Hanan Ashrawi, Palestine Liberation Organisation Executive Committee Member and 2003 winner of the Sydney Peace Prize, in Ramallah on August 6, 2012

I remain concerned by the lack of progress towards realising a two state solution, despite efforts to bring the two parties together, the impasse continues. Australia has continually supported a negotiated two state solution allowing a secure Israel to live alongside an independent Palestinian state. I am concerned that continuing settlement activity is counterproductive to the peace process. I will continue to make this point with the Israeli leaders.

At a time when the Palestinian Authority is facing a serious fiscal crisis I am pleased that Australia is one of the few countries whose support has increased significantly in recent years. We are committed to providing over $300 million in support over five years. Of this, $120 million will go direct to the Palestinian Authority to strengthen institutions in preparation for statehood. We see this as a serious investment in the peace process. I recently announced the contribution of a further $90 million to UNRWA for education and health.

I acknowledge the efforts of the Palestinian Authority in delivering enhanced security, public financial reform and the strengthening of institutions. Australia wants to ensure that the gains made are not lost.

Australia looks forward to deepening our friendship with the Palestinian people and strengthening our cooperation with the Palestinian Authority.

Thank you very much.

  1. sheree waks permalink
    August 7, 2012 11:41 am

    Glad to see you are engaging closely with the Palestinian leadership and reinforcing Australia’s commitment to the two-state solution, when that proposition is increasingly under threat, in particular from increased settlement activity as you correctly point out.

    • Janet permalink
      August 7, 2012 1:44 pm

      Agree strongly with importance of Australia supporting moves toward autonomy and security for each group–as implied by a 2-state solution–while also criticising activities such as the settlement enterprise that threaten the possibility of this solution.

    • ian permalink
      August 7, 2012 9:32 pm

      rockets from gaza landing in Israeli civilian areas are not a threat to peace, implies Sheree Waks apparently

      • sheree waks permalink
        August 8, 2012 8:56 am

        Ian I don’t believe I implied that rockets from Gaza are not a threat – there are many threats to the two-state solution, what I said was “in particular ” increased settlement activity is one of those.Visiting many West Bank areas and seeing the location and nature of numerous settlements led me to that conclusion.

  2. Michael Burd permalink
    August 7, 2012 9:48 pm

    Mr Carr I haven’t read any criticism of the Palestinian intransigence, no mention of incitement of hatred of Israeli Jews in Palestinian schools , University and media, no mention to stop their attempts at terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians,no mention of the Palestinians to accept Israel as a Jewish state just as the Hamas Gov Charter calls for a Islamic State of Palestine , no mention of Palestinians failing to reciprocate Israel vacating Gaza to name a few.
    Mr Carr you may not realize it but it takes two to tango , we know you want a seat in the UN security Council and in order to do this you must please the Arab block so thats why you are giving hundreds of millions of dollars to the Palestinians and Syrians and nothing to Israel.
    Mr Carr perhaps you are not aware of Mrs Arafat’s hundreds of Millions of dollars sitting in French bank accounts where she resides. All this cash given by other naive governments.

    Mr Carr unless you tell the Palestinians to reciprocate in the giving and taking in Peace negotiations you will be no different to all the other FM’s who thought by giving these people cash you can buy peace .
    Whilst the Palestinians keep fighting amongst themselves , discriminate against the Christians and have a government considered a bunch of terrorists by Australia keep playing the victim nothing will change

  3. Michael permalink
    August 7, 2012 10:27 pm

    Time to talk about sanctions for Israel? Dialogue can only go so far. Actions speak.

  4. Alan Freedman permalink
    August 8, 2012 8:04 am

    Mr Carr, you state that “continuing settlement activity is counterproductive to the peace process”, but this is a political position that disregards the true legal status of the West Bank.

    The Levy commission (comprised of three eminent jurists) ruled that the West Bank is not occupied. Certainly this will be, and should be, open to rigorous legal debate in order to establish the facts. Only when these are agreed upon, is it then valid to introduce political aspects in order to advance the peace process.

    Setting aside the legalities is like a judge saying it is OK for a bank robber to steal money because society isn’t doing enough to assist someone in need.

    Whether or not the settlement activity is counterproductive to the peace process is a discussion to be had only after the legalities are resolved.

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