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Economic progress in the West Bank

28th February 2012

Pauline Latham calls on the Foreign Secretary to stress the importance of the Palestinian Authority returning to peace negotiations as economic progress in the west bank would benefit directly from a Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement.

Pauline Latham (Mid Derbyshire) (Con): Commerce, restaurants and hotels continue to provide the highest number of jobs in the west bank, according to a recent United Nations Relief and Works Agency report on the Palestinian labour market. Given that these sectors stand to benefit directly from a future Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement, will the Foreign Secretary reiterate the importance of the Palestinian Authority returning to direct peace negotiations without preconditions?

Mr Speaker: Order. I remind the House that we are talking about private sector initiatives in the west bank, not about the peace process more widely. I want a brief reply from the Minister, and then we will move on.

Alistair Burt: The health of the private sector economy is a component part of the all-round package for the future of the Palestinian Authority and Israel to which my hon. Friend alludes. There is no doubt that a comprehensive settlement will benefit both the state and private sector economies, and I am pleased that she raised the matter.

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