Palestinian economic confab planned

The United States and Britian are planning a conference on improving the Palestinian economy.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in a joint news conference Tuesday announced the investment meeting, to be held in Bethlehem in March or April.

The meeting follows up on the international donors conference held Monday in Paris, where $7.4 billion in aid was pledged to the Palestinians for the next three years.

“The United States of America and Britain together will host the conference,” Brown said. “It’s an important signal about the need for investment to create jobs for prosperity and opportunity in the Palestinian areas.”

Brown said that support could include infrastructure development, industrial parks, microcredit and small business development.

Abbas described the meeting as a “golden” and “historic” chance for peace in the Middle East, but added that he wanted to see Israel stop building settlements.

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