Israeli officials meet with International Task Force on Palestinian Reform UN reports

Spokesman Fred Eckhard told reporters in New York that Foreign Minister Shimon Peres as well as representatives of the Prime Minister’s Office, the Finance Ministry and the Israeli Coordinator for the Territories all attended the meeting with the Task Force, which is comprised of the diplomatic Quartet on the Middle East – the UN, United States, European Union and Russia – as well Norway, Japan, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).”The Foreign Minister told the Task Force that Israel was about to release 10 per cent of the $650 million it is holding of Value Added Tax collected on behalf of the Palestinian Authority,” Mr. Eckhard said. The Israeli officials had also stressed that security remained their overriding concern, but had voiced their willingness to facilitate the work of the Task Force, he added. “During the meeting, members of the Task Force sought to engage the Israelis on ways to allow freedom of movement of Palestinian Ministers and members of the Palestinian Legislative Council, as well representatives of international organizations,” he said.The Task Force is striving to create conditions for reform within the Palestinian Authority, including working closely with Palestinian officials on specific areas such as law, elections and finance. read more