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Hamdallah: Kerry economic plan to create more jobs

Feb. 18, 2014 12:13 A.M. (Updated: Feb. 20, 2014 11:30 A.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah said on Monday that US Secretary of State John Kerry’s economic initiative coupled with political progress will decrease the unemployment rate.

Hamdallah’s comments came after a meeting with US senators Tim Kaine and Angus King, and he briefed them on developments in the peace talks.

During the meeting Hamdallah discussed the importance of investing in Area C, supporting tourism, creating employment oppurtonities for recent graduates, and lifting the Israeli siege on Gaza.

Kerry announced an initiative to allocate $4 billion to revive the Palestinian economy last year.

Last summer, Kerry said business experts had been working to make the project "real, tangible and shovel-ready," adding an initial analysis had predicted "stunning" results.

These included boosting the Palestinian GDP by as much as 50 percent over three years and cutting unemployment from 21 percent to eight percent.

But similarly ambitious US-led plans by past administrations have faltered, and a blanket of secrecy has been thrown up as Quartet special envoy Tony Blair and his team hammer out the details with the aid of international experts.

Critics say the vague details may signal a lack of substance. But others believe the need for secrecy is in part due to concerns on the Palestinian side that any so-called "economic peace" would sideline efforts to seal a two-state peace deal with Israel.

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