ANKARA, Nov. 13 (Xinhua) -- Turkish, Israeli and
Palestinian Presidents Abdullah Gul, Shimon Peres and Mahmoud Abbas signed here
on Tuesday an agreement on building a joint industrial zone in the West Bank,
the semi-official Anatolia news agency reported.
The agreement was signed in a
tripartite meeting at the Cankaya Presidential Palace within the scope of the
Ankara Forum which kicked off early in the day.
Israeli President Shimon Peres (L),
Turkey's President Abdullah Gul (C) and Palestinian President Mahmoud
Abbas pose after a meeting at the Presidential Palace in Ankara Nov. 13,
2007. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)
Under the agreement, a joint industrial zone will be
established in the West Bank, to house more than 200 factories and provide
working opportunities for Palestinians.
Implementation of Turkey's "Organized Industrial
Zone" model in the countries of the Middle East was expected to contribute
remarkably to the development of private sector in these countries, Anatolia
It will also help create employment opportunities for
the Palestinians, attract investments to the region and develop the region's
economy in the medium and long-term, the report added.
The three-way meeting came weeks before Israeli and
Palestinians are set to sit down at a U.S.-sponsored peace conference in
Annapolis, Maryland later this month.
Gul said the concrete step taken to establish
industrial zones in the Palestinian territories would encourage compromise on
"The concrete step taken today shows the political
will of the presidents of Israel and Palestine prior to the Annapolis meeting in
the United States," he said.
Peres, for his part, attached great importance to the
agreement which he considered as a win-win agreement, saying that "the project
will yield important results for the region and contribute to peace process."
Meanwhile, Abbas qualified the Ankara Forum a
"significant opportunity" for establishing peace in the region, adding that
peace, security and stability in the Middle East could be reached if the
Palestinians and Israelis ensured peace.
The Ankara Forum was initiated by Turkey in 2005 as a
confidence building mechanism between Palestine and Israel.
Within the framework of the
"industry for peace" approach, a project aiming to revive the Erez Industrial
Zone was brought up during the Ankara Forum activities held in April