Occupied Palestinian Territories

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 5:45 pm on 29th April 2004.

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Photo of Richard Burden Richard Burden Labour, Birmingham, Northfield 5:45 pm, 29th April 2004

I have two brief questions for my hon. Friend on the country assistance plan. First, will he continue to recognise the crucial importance of advocacy work, particularly that undertaken by the Palestinian negotiations support unit, which is partly funded by his Department? Will he reject the calls from the Chamber today that it will help the cause of peace to deny the Palestinians support for a negotiating voice? I can understand why the Israeli embassy is lobbying for that, but we should not be involved.

Secondly, although the country assistance plan, the Select Committee report and the Government's response rightly stress the importance of political action in order to achieve development goals, we should not lose sight of the importance of development action. Concern has been expressed by aid agencies about—