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Media Note
Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
December 4, 2007


U.S.-Palestinian Public-Private Partnership Holds Inaugural Session

President George W. Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice officially launched Monday, December 3, the U.S.-Palestinian Public Private Partnership, a new initiative creating economic opportunity for the Palestinian people, with a special focus on providing opportunities for Palestinian youth.

The new collaboration will encourage additional American private sector support for the Palestinians, and is a critical component in facilitating progress toward a two-state solution, with Israel and Palestine live side by side, in peace, security and prosperity.

"The peace and security that we seek in the Middle East requires the active engagement of private citizens, civil society groups, and the business community,” Secretary Rice said Monday. “Focusing this partnership on projects that reach young Palestinians directly, that prepare them for responsibilities of citizenship and leadership can have an enormous, positive impact.”

Secretary Rice has asked President and CEO of the Aspen Institute Walter Isaacson, to lead the initiative, along with co-chairs Citigroup Chairman Emeritus Sandy Weill; Material Service Corporation Chairman Lester Crown; American Task Force for Palestine President Ziad Asali; and Case Foundation CEO Jean Case. Executive Director of the Aspen Institute's Middle East Strategy Group Toni Verstandig, will direct Aspen's efforts on this initiative.

Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Karen P. Hughes; USAID Administrator and Director of Foreign Assistance Henrietta H. Fore; Overseas Private Investment Corporation President and CEO Robert A. Mosbacher Jr.; along with policy experts and influential Palestinian and civic leaders, participated in the inaugural meeting Monday at the Aspen Institute to set priorities and plans for the initiative.

The partnership’s goal is to identify projects that can be implemented quickly, under the auspices of the Palestinian Authority, and complement the overall effort of the Quartet’s Special Representative, Tony Blair. This initiative will also be guided by the reform agenda of Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, and will be implemented in close cooperation with the Palestinian Authority ministries.

Participants at Monday’s planning session focused on quick-impact projects ranging from youth centers and English language training, to expanded IT infrastructure and call centers. Additionally, attendees discussed holding a business development conference in Bethlehem in the spring to promote investment opportunities in the Palestinian territories. At the behest of the government of the Palestinian authority, this conference will be planned under the auspices of the Middle East Strategy Group..

For additional information about the partnership, please contact the MESG’s program manager, James Hoppes, 202-736-5846, james.hoppes@aspeninstitute.org, or Andrea McDaniel, Director of the Office for Private Sector Outreach, Office of Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs at the U.S. Department of State, 202-647-9163.

2007/1091


Released on December 4, 2007

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