Meeting with President Abbas on the future of the cooperation between Belgium and Palestine

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Development Cooperation Alexander De Croo met today in Brussels with Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Palestinian Authority. 

Deputy Prime Minister De Croo discussed today the future of the Belgo-Palestinian international cooperation with President Abbas. A bilateral cooperation programme with a strong focus on education is currently running.

However, this cooperation is being jeopardized by the question of the name of Palestinian schools. In October 2017, the on-going programme for the construction of schools was suspended after a Palestinian school built with the support of the Belgian development cooperation was named after a Palestinian terrorist.

Minister De Croo and President Abbas discussed how a solution could be found, in the interest of the Palestinian schoolchildren. Belgium cannot accept in any way the glorification of terror.

Minister De Croo is confident that a solution will soon be found so that the cooperation on education can be resumed.

The humanitarian situation in Palestine was also addressed. Belgium is an important humanitarian donor in Palestine. Minister De Croo promised last week 19 million EUR for UNRWA, the United Nations refugees agency which focuses on humanitarian aid to Palestinian refugees in the Middle-East. Belgium is one of the few donors who commits such multiannual financing. Given the financial troubles which UNRWA currently faces, the first tranche of this multiannual financing will be immediately disbursed to UNRWA. The American government decided last week to suspend half of its support to UNRWA.