British Minister of State for International Development Desmond Swayne visited the Occupied Palestinian Territories on 13-14 October. Mr Swayne met Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, Minister for Finance Shukri Bishara and UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krahenbuhl.
Following his participation in the Cairo Conference on the Reconstruction of Gaza, Mr Swayne also visited the Gaza Strip and witnessed first-hand the destruction following the summer’s conflict. He saw in action the UK’s humanitarian assistance to Gaza’s most vulnerable people.
Following the UK’s announcement on Sunday of £20m support for the reconstruction of Gaza, Mr Swayne briefed Prime Minister Hamdallah on the UK’s upcoming support for the Palestinian Authority. He outlined plans for UK funding to the PA to help pay the salaries of teachers and doctors to deliver health and education services to Palestinians. Prime Minister Hamdallah and Mr Swayne also signed a Memorandum of Understanding for a new security and justice project which will help strengthen accountability and transparency in the Palestinian security services.
Following his meeting with the Prime Minister, Mr Swayne said:
I was pleased to inform Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah today of the next stage of the UK’s support for the Palestinian Authority. Our support is designed to help the PA deliver essential services such as health and education, and to build strong, accountable institutions including in the field of security.
The Palestinian Authority also has a vital role to play in leading the reconstruction of Gaza. In Cairo, I announced a further £20m of UK support for the reconstruction of Gaza, including to the PA to help it lead these reconstruction efforts. As I discussed with the Prime Minister, it is critical that these reconstruction efforts now form part of a process of meaningful political change.