Canada interested to assist Palestinian economy

Monday, January 22, 2007 |  by Staff Writer
Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs Peter Gordon Mackay, who is on his first ever visit to Israel, met with Vice Premier Shimon Peres and said that the "Peace Valley" project will be extremely interesting to the international business sector.

He also said that Canada is very interested that companies from their private sector will be involved in upgrading and assisting the Palestinian economy.

Peres said that using economic and environmental tools can change the relations between peoples and can open a huge market for Palestinian investors to the tune of 650,000,000 people in the Arab world.

Peres also spoke about the political issue and said that the gap between Israelis and Palestinians is small and can be bridged. About the refugee issue, Peres said that Israel's position is clear: "We will not lose our identity in a Jewish state with a Jewish majority and the Arab world is beginning to understand that."

Since its election in January 2006, the Canadian government headed by Prime Minister Stephen Harper has maintained particularly warm relations with Israel, and bilateral and diplomatic ties are currently at their peak. Canada has been at the forefront of the international efforts against the Iranian nuclear threat.

The Harper government was the first to boycott Hamas immediately after its election, and supported Israel during the Lebanon war against Hizballah. Canada is also one of Israel's staunch supporters in the United Nations and other international forums, such as the G-8.

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