House of Lords written question – answered on 20th March 2014.

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Photo of Baroness Tonge Baroness Tonge Independent Liberal Democrat

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what discussions they have held with relevant parties regarding the viability of the Palestinian economy under the current circumstances in the region.

Photo of Baroness Warsi Baroness Warsi Senior Minister of State (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) (Jointly with the Department for Communities and Local Government), Senior Minister of State (Department for Communities and Local Government) (Faith and Communities) (also in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office)

We continue to engage regularly with Israel, the Palestinian Authority, the Office of the Quartet Representative, and European and other partners on the Palestinian economy. The Government agrees with the World Bank analysis that movement and access restrictions constitute the single biggest obstacle to the viability of trade and economic development and that Area C is key to the future of the West Bank economy. We continue to ask the Israeli government to ease its restrictions and to allow development of Palestinian communities in Area C. The UK stands ready to support the Initiative for the Palestinian Economy and has launched two Department for International Development programmes to support Palestinian economic development: a £12.5m Palestinian Market Development Programme to support small businesses in the West Bank and Gaza, and a £6.2 million programme to support development of rural Palestinian communities in Area C.

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