Senior Minister of State (SMS) for Foreign Affairs and Home Affairs Masagos Zulkifli delivered a statement at the Cairo International Conference on Palestine and Reconstructing Gaza on 12 October 2014.  In his statement, SMS Masagos announced Singapore’s contribution of US$100,000 towards UNICEF’s Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Cluster.  This is in addition to Singapore’s previous contribution of US$100,000 to humanitarian relief efforts in Gaza that was made through the Singapore Red Cross on 23 July 2014.  SMS Masagos also reiterated Singapore’s commitment to support the Palestinian National Authority’s capacity-building efforts through an enhanced technical assistance package. 

        The text of SMS’s statement is attached as follows:

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Distinguished Co-Chairmen,

1              Let me start by thanking the co-hosts Egypt, Norway and the Palestinian National Authority for convening this Conference.  The issue of Gaza’s reconstruction is a pressing one, and rightly deserves the international community’s attention.  I would also like to commend Egypt for its untiring efforts to bring the various parties together in the search for a durable ceasefire, without which it would be difficult to talk about reconstruction. 

2              The Gaza conflict has been devastating and heart-breaking.  Singapore was deeply saddened by the high number of civilian casualties.  We urge all parties to work seriously towards an agreement over Gaza that will best serve the long-term interests of both the Palestinians and the Israelis.  Without a feasible long-term solution, which will entail compromises from all sides, our efforts today will come to naught.  We also call for the urgent resumption of negotiations towards realising an eventual two-state solution with Israel and Palestine living side by side in peace and security.  Singapore believes that this is the only way to achieve a lasting and durable peace between the Palestinian and Israeli people. 

Distinguished Co-Chairmen,

3              The humanitarian situation in Gaza is of great concern for the Singapore Government, and for Singaporeans.  We support all international efforts to alleviate the suffering of the people there.  In response to the humanitarian crisis, the Singapore Government had given US$100,000 to the Singapore Red Cross to provide for immediate relief supplies such as emergency food packages, health care items, and water and sanitation devices.  Many Singaporeans have contributed to fund-raising efforts and as of 30 September 2014, a total of about S$1.7 million has been raised for humanitarian relief efforts in Gaza.  I am pleased to announce that the Singapore Government will be donating another US$100,000 to UNICEF, for the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Cluster, which is urgently needed to provide clean water and sanitation in Gaza.

4              In the long-term, the reconstruction of Gaza must be accompanied by the strengthening of institutions, and stepping-up of capacity-building efforts.  I would like to reiterate Singapore’s enhanced technical assistance package for the Palestinian National Authority (worth S$5million over five years) that was announced in 2013.  This comprises customised study visits to Singapore, priority places in our Singapore Cooperation Programme (SCP) training courses, and postgraduate scholarships.  Since 1996, over 140 Palestinian officials have attended courses in Singapore and they received training in areas such as education, disaster management and ICT.  We have also been delighted to host study visits by the Palestinian Ministry of Education, and the Palestinian Anti-Corruption Commission.  We hope more Palestinians will take up our offer, and that they might be encouraged seeing first-hand that it is indeed possible for a country without natural resources to prosper.  Looking back, Singapore’s prosperity today was built on the stability and security it enjoyed after independence.  Singapore is happy to share our development experiences and expertise with the Palestinian people, and to help build capacity.

5              It is Singapore’s sincere wish that our combined endeavours here today will serve to improve the lives of Palestinians, and help them tide through this difficult time to a better future.

6              Thank you.                                                                                                                           

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MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS
SINGAPORE
13 OCTOBER 2014