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Volume 457: debated on Wednesday 7 March 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if she will make a statement on the extent of UK involvement in security-related projects in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. (123955)

We remain concerned at the security situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and continue to work closely with international partners to improve the situation on the ground.

The UK plays a significant role in supporting the Palestinian security forces (our bilateral funding this financial year has been over US$1.6 million). The major projects are: US$320,000 for the maintenance of secure communications equipment for the Palestinian Authority Security Forces; US$600,000 for two secondees to the EU Police Co-ordination for the Palestinian Police Service (EUPOL COPPS); and US$700,000 for non-lethal equipment for the Presidential Guard. In respect of this last item, we informed the House about this project on 8 February. All these projects have been or will be financed through the Global Conflict Prevention Pool.

We also strongly support EU security work in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Our assessed contribution to the European Security and Defence Policy Missions, EU Border Assistance Mission and EUPOL COPPS, amounts to US$3.8 million.

The UK is also working closely with US Security Co-ordinator General Dayton and his team in support of Security Sector Transformation within the Occupied Palestinian Territories and the Karni Crossing Project to improve the flow of goods from Gaza. We have seconded a military liaison officer and a police adviser to General Dayton’s team. A training officer is due to go out to the region shortly.