Japan Pledges $15 Million to Aid Palestine at CEAPAD Conference

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Tokyo – (PanOrient News) The Japanese minister of foreign affairs, Taro Kono, announced Japan would contribute $15 million to aid Palestinian development at a June 27 CEAPAD conference in Bangkok, Thailand. CEAPAD is the Conference on Cooperation among East Asian Countries for Palestinian Development. Kono also said Japan would support education in Palestine, especially in information and communication technology.

The conference, which was the third ministerial meeting of CEAPAD, was co-chaired by Kono, along with the foreign affairs ministers of Thailand and Palestine.

The financial contribution will go to the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), which Kono described as “facing a serious financial crisis.” Since 1993, Japan has provided about $2 billion in aid to Palestine.

Kono also stressed the importance of supporting education for Palestinian youth in order to promote development and counter violent extremism. He announced Japan’s plans to promote education and start-ups in the field of information and communication technology specifically, which he identified as an important area for environmentally restricted Palestinians and one that would help connect them to the international community.

In addition, Kono mentioned the success of Palestine’s Jericho Agro-Industrial Park, which has grown up over the last few years and now contains 12 Palestinian companies. In his statement, he proposed a CEAPAD joint tour to Palestine, including a visit to the facility.

Despite the job-creating agro-industrial park, Kono expressed concern for the overall situation in Palestine.

“I am sad to say that, at this moment, we cannot be optimistic about the situation surrounding the Middle East Peace Process including the recent situation in Gaza,” said Kono, apparently referencing the deadly protests that followed the U.S.’s embassy move to Jerusalem in May.

CEAPAD supports achieving peace in the Middle East based on a two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. The meeting was attended by representatives from Japan, Thailand, Palestine, Indonesia, Singapore, Brunei, Vietnam, Malaysia, Egypt, South Korea, the Islamic Development Bank, the World Bank, the League of Arab States, the Office of the Quartet, and the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).

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