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Economic development is key to creating the conditions for a
successful Palestinian state. Speaking to the Palestinian Business and
Investment Forum at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on October 14th, U.S.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said that the Palestinian private
sector is the real catalyst for economic growth. The employment and
economic opportunities that the private sector offers, she said, "will
make a tangible difference in the lives of Palestinians and in their
ongoing battle to end extremism among them."
Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad has taken steps to create an
environment in which the private sector is free to flourish. He has
erased millions in private debt and public salary arrears. He has
instituted reform measures to improve the efficiency of government. As
a result, the Palestinian Authority is positioned to invest in the
infrastructure necessary to expand private sector growth.
The United States recognizes the efforts of the Palestinian
Authority and is committed to ensuring that these reforms can continue.
The U.S. has provided almost six-hundred million dollars in total
assistance to the Palestinians during 2008. As a sign of our continuing
commitment to both the P-A government and the creation of a viable
Palestinian state, the U.S. has appropriated one-hundred fifty-million
dollars in budget support for the Palestinian Authority in fiscal year
The U.S. also is committed to supporting ongoing peace negotiations
between the parties to reach an agreement under the Annapolis process
before the end of the year. Secretary of State Rice promised to leave
no stone unturned in her efforts to resolve the sixty-year old conflict
so that Palestinians can live in dignity in their own state and
Israelis can live in security with a partner that is democratic and
accepting of Israel as a neighbor.