Tony Blair: Empowering the Palestinian private sector is vitalSunday, Oct 21, 2012 in Office of Tony Blair, Office of the Quartet Representative
Earlier this year the OQR supported a Dutch initiative aimed at boosting Palestinian trade by introducing containerisation at the Allenby Bridge crossing with Jordan. This week Quartet Representative, Tony Blair, visited the Allenby crossing to check on progress.
Accompanied by Dutch Representative Mrs Birgitta Tazelaar, Mr Blair met with representatives from the Palestinian Authority, Government of Israel and Government of Jordan to discuss the installation of a Dutch-funded state-of-the-art cargo scanner at Allenby. Mr Blair congratulated all of the parties involved for their goodwill and the progress made to date, and urged continued efforts to accelerate planning and construction to ensure that containerisation is up and running in the near future.
Mr Blair said, "Empowering the private sector is vital as a driver not only for broader economic recovery but also for shoring up a sustainable and viable future economy for the Palestinian state. Containerisation like this will make a big difference, the numbers show that".
The Quartet Representative’s support to this project at the Allenby Bridge, through his team of expert advisers, is part of a broader agenda to support the development objectives of the Palestinian Authority. Continuous support and promotion of business projects, boosting Palestinian trade in both the West Bank and Gaza, is at the heart of priority on-the-ground work being taken forward by OQR and international donors.
During this week’s visit, Mr Blair also met with the CEO of Nakheel Palestine, the largest Palestinian date packaging factory, and heard about both the successes and challenges that date farming continues to face in the Jordan Valley, including the threat of possible evacuation. Travelling on to the Jericho Agro Industrial Park, a project funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Mr Blair met with PA Minister of National Economy Dr Jawad Naji and the Japanese Representative to the PA, Mr Junya Matsura, where he discussed how to encourage future investment and facilitate opportunities for Palestinian agro-industrial business at the park.