Foreign Minister acknowledges Latvia's readiness to engage in co-operation projects with PNA
On 23 September, Foreign Minister Maris Riekstins met with the Foreign Minister of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA), Riyad al-Malki, to review bilateral co-operation between Latvia and the PNA and also the progress of the Middle East Peace Process. The meeting took place during the UN General Assembly in New York.
At the meeting, the Latvian Minister for Foreign Affairs pointed out that Latvia is interested in advancing a more active collaboration with the PNA, both by developing regular political dialogue and at the level of practical co-operation. In line with the EU Middle East Strategy, Latvia is interested in supporting the establishment of a Palestinian state, especially in the reinforcement of institutional capacity by sharing its own experience of reform. Minister Riekstins highlighted the first co-operation project with the PNA, which was implemented with the support of the Latvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs: from 1 to 17 August, a representative of the PNA attended the Baltic International Summer School, the theme of which was communication, technologies, and integration. Both ministers agreed that the co-operation commenced between Latvia and the PNA should be continued.
Concerning the Middle East Peace Process, Minister Riekstins said that Latvia as an EU Member State supports the formation of an independent, democratic, and viable Palestinian state in line with the Roadmap for Peace. Both sides discussed the current home affairs of the PNA with regard to the situation in Israel. The Latvian Minister for Foreign Affairs voiced a hope that the PNA peace talks with Israel will continue fruitfully and a peace agreement will be concluded by the end of 2008.
At the close of the meeting, Mr Riekstins invited Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki to make a visit to Latvia, whereas the latter invited the Latvian Minister for Foreign Affairs to visit Palestine.
The PNA was established in 1994 as an interim administration unit for governing the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, on the basis of the Israel-Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) peace agreement, the so-called Declaration of Principles or the Oslo Accords. The Declaration of Principles prescribed that the PNA is an authorised representative of the PLO in negotiations with Israel on the key issues regarding the establishment of a Palestinian state.
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