HC Deb 11 May 2004 vol 421 c154
9. James Purnell (Stalybridge and Hyde) (Lab)

What steps the Government are taking to support a more effective security force for the Palestinian Authority. [171837]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Mr. Bill Rammell)

The UK is supporting the Palestinian Authority in its efforts to improve its effectiveness in delivering security in the occupied territories, both for their own people and to prevent attacks against Israel. We are offering advice, encouragement and some limited practical support.

James Purnell

Both sides of the House want a two-stage solution to be achieved, based on a viable Palestinian state. Does my hon. Friend agree that a key part of the Palestinian Authority becoming a state is for it to show its control over security? Does he think that the key obstacle to its doing that is a willingness to use its capability, or the capability itself? What steps can we take to help the authority to achieve that goal?

Mr. Rammell

My hon. Friend is absolutely right to say that, for the authority to become a state, the responsibilities of being a state need to be taken on. That is why we are helping and assisting as we are. The Palestinian plans appear to be a good approach to addressing some of the key security challenges. The international community, through the Quartet and other mechanisms, has urged the Palestinians to demonstrate 100 per cent. effort on security. Some effort has been made, but we believe that more can be done.

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