Ashton and Fayyad sign agreements worth €35 million to improve Palestinian living conditions

EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Catherine Ashton yesterday signed, on behalf of the European Union, two Financing Agreements with Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad worth a total value of €35 million. This funding will enable the building of a medium-scale wastewater treatment plant in Tubas Tayasir areas in the West Bank (€22 million) and the upgrading of border crossing infrastructure at the Karem Abu Salem/Kerem Shalom crossing point (€13million), currently the only functioning goods crossing point in the Gaza Strip.
“Through this investment, the EU will significantly contribute to the improvement of the living conditions of the Palestinian population through two separate projects in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip,” said Catherine Ashton. “Fully aware of the scarcity of water resources in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt), the EU has identified water as one of the focal sectors of its assistance. The upgrading of the Karem Abu Salem/Kerem Shalom crossing point allows for an increased movement of goods in and out of the Gaza Strip. The EU has repeatedly called for the opening of the crossings for the flow of humanitarian aid, commercial goods and persons to and from Gaza."
High Representative Ashton was in Brussels hosting the Spring meeting of the Ad-Hoc Liaison Committee (AHLC), the donor coordination group for the Palestinian people.
Water and sanitation in the West Bank - €22m
This project under the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI) will enable the financing of a medium-scale wastewater treatment plant in Tubas Tayasir areas in the West Bank. It will be the second wastewater treatment plant of its kind in the West Bank. The project will also be the first to re-use the treated water for agriculture. Hence the outcome will not only be about sanitation but also about saving limited groundwater resources. Water and Water Sanitation are a focal sector of the EU’s financial assistance to the Palestinian people.
Upgrading of Karem Abu Salem/Kerem Shalom crossing point in the Gaza Strip - €13m
This project is part of the commitment made by EU Foreign Ministers in the aftermath of the Gaza flotilla in 2010 to extend the EU’s support to the improvement of the crossings infrastructure in the Gaza Strip. It is an EU crisis response measure under the Instrument for Stability (IfS). It will allow the expansion of the only currently open goods crossing point in the Gaza Strip and consists of the construction and expansion of hard infrastructure (loading and inspection areas, warehouses etc.) and the supply of equipment (IT, weigh-bridge, x-ray equipment). It will be carried out by the Palestinian Authority in full coordination with the Israeli authorities. (ENPI Info Centre)
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Press release
ENPI Info Centre – Donor coordination group for Palestinian people to meet on 21 March (16-03-12)
European Commission Technical Assistance Office for the West Bank and Gaza Strip
External Cooperation – Occupied Palestinian Territory
External Relations – Occupied Palestinian Territory
ENPI Info Centre – Occupied Palestinian Territory     

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