Netherlands in Special Partnerships with Israel and Palestinians
THE HAGUE, 19/06/13 - The Netherlands is tightening its ties with both Israel and the Palestinian Authority. There will be partnership links comparable to those the Dutch have with countries such as France, Germany and Poland.
Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans has made agreements on the respective partnerships with Israeli Premier Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Premier Rami Hamdallah. The closer cooperation will take shape in annual fora, each with a general theme. At the end of this year, this will be water and energy.
As well as the governments, companies, academic institutions and non-governmental organisations will be involved in the talks. The intention is that the meetings should be held once every two years, alternately in the Netherlands and in Israel and the Palestinian Territories.
On Tuesday, Timmermans met with Israeli President Shimon Peres, and with President Mahmoud Abbas and Premier Hamdallah of the Palestinian Authority. On Monday, he met with Premier Benjamin Netenyahu and discussed topics including the nuclear programme and human rights in Iran and developments in Syria, and with the Israeli Minister for the peace process Tzipi Livni, the US effort to get the peace process underway again.
Israeli media say Netanyahu and Timmermans have agreed to form a bilateral Dutch-Israeli Cooperation Forum spanning the fields of energy and technology. The first meeting of the new forum will be held in Israel at the end of this year by the Prime Ministers of Israel and the Netherlands, in the company of other high-profile government ministers.
Timmermans invited Peres for an official state visit to the Netherlands, on behalf of King Willem-Alexander. He told Peres of the importance the Netherlands attached to US Secretary of State John Kerry’s efforts to reinvigorate stalled Mid East peace talks with the aim of realising the EU-backed two state solution.