Palestinian investment conference kicks off in Bethlehem

May 22nd, 2008 - 12:17 am ICT by admin  

Bethlehem (West Bank), May 21 (DPA) A long-awaited major international investment conference opened in Bethlehem Wednesday afternoon, attended by approximately 1300 participants, around 70 percent of whom are from Arab countries and the Palestinian areas. The three-day parley in the biblical West Bank city hopes to persuade as many foreign investors as possible to put their money in a Palestinian economy devastated by years of violence and instability.

Hotels in Bethlehem are full, and police units have been bussed in from Ramallah to help control the crowd.

Building the Palestinian economy is one of the four central pillars of the revived, US- and European-sponsored peace process with Israel, the other three being negotiations on a framework agreement, implementation of the international “road map” plan, and getting broader Arab support for the negotiations on a two-state solution led by President Mahmoud Abbas.

The idea for the conference emerged from the December Paris Donors Conference, where the international community pledged an unprecedented $7.7 billion to help revive the Palestinian economy.

More than 100 investment projects, worth over $1 billion, will be introduced, in the hope they will find partners and support.

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