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Abbas adviser: Political climate not ready for Kerry proposal

May 28, 2013 12:41 P.M. (Updated: May 29, 2013 4:10 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- The current political climate is not appropriate for US Secretary of State John Kerry's plans to revive the Palestinian economy, a senior economic adviser to President Abbas said Tuesday.

While Palestinians welcome the initiative by Kerry to boost Palestine's ailing economy, Mohammad Mustafa says the political climate won't allow such an initiative.

"We told him that the political element should go side by side with the economic element because part of the establishment of an independent Palestinian state must be an independent economy," Mustafa told Ma'an.

"The occupation should come to an end, and we should have control over our resources."

As an example, Mustafa said, Israel does not allow the Palestinian side to extract gas from Gaza's shores despite a 1999 agreement allowing such extraction.

"We should have control of our resources and border crossings, and we must be allowed to invest in sectors like energy, tourism, and transportation. There can't be statehood and an economy without a harbor or airport."

The Palestinian side, according to Mustafa, should not undermine Kerry's proposal, but at the same time should not have "excessive dreams," adding that there have not been any written details about the proposed investments in Palestine.

Since taking up the baton this year in the elusive search for Middle East peace, Kerry has refused to divulge publicly the details of how he intends to bridge the bitter differences between Israel and the Palestinians.

But he has entrusted Quartet Middle East peace envoy Tony Blair with the task of drawing up an economic plan to attract tourism and private sector investment into the West Bank and breathe fresh hope into the area.
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