JERUSALEM, March 13, 2012 (WAFA) – French Prime Minister François Fillon said his country has allocated €10 million to fund a project of a desalination unit in the Gaza strip, said a statement released on Tuesday by the General French Consulate.

Fillon made the announcement at the opening of the 6th World Water Forum held Monday in Marseilles and in the presence of Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.

This project is the first to have been given the approval from the Union for the Mediterranean in 2011.

“The desalination unit project was perfectly illustrating the approach consisting in creating solidarities between countries along the banks of the Mediterranean,” said Fillon, adding that “the Mediterranean of peace will probably be built up around sun and water.”

The statement said the project of a desalination unit in Gaza aims to answer the current and future needs of drinking water in the Gaza Strip, which has a population of 1.6 million and where only 5% of the water is suitable for consumption.

“This project should also allow the restoration of the coastal aquifer, in coherence with the strategic objective of the Union for the Mediterranean of getting rid of pollution in the Mediterranean. This project will also provide job opportunities to the population of Gaza,” added the statement.


UFM: 10 mln euros from France for Gaza Strip water project

(ANSAmed) – MADRID, MARCH 13 – France is to pledge 10 million euros to the project that will see a desalination plant built in the Gaza Strip, a scheme supported by the 43 countries associated to the Union for the Mediterranean and approved in June last year. The announcement was made by the French Prime Minister, François Fillon, at the opening of the World Water Forum, which is being held until March 17 in Marseille. Fillon was speaking at the round-table meeting organised by the Union for the Mediterranean (UFM) focussing on the desalination site designed to put an end to the water emergency in Gaza. Those attending the meeting, say UFM sources, included the Palestinian Prime Minister, Salem Fayyad, the UNICEF special representative for the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Jean Gough, the head of the Palestinian water authority, Shaddad Attili, the secretary general of the UFM, Fathallah Sijilmassi, and the European Investment Bank representative, Ioannis Kaltsas.

The concrete advantages of the desalination plant for the Gaza Strip’s 1.6 million inhabitants were underlined by a number of representatives at the debate, as was the fact that the project brings together a consortium of Arab, European and non-EU donors, who all intend to cooperate with the building of the plant. Separately from the round-table talks, Fayyad and Sijilmassi held a bilateral meeting to explore potential methods of cooperation between the Palestinian National Authority and the general secretariat of the Union for the Mediterranean, with the aim of gathering more funds needed to carry out the project in Gaza. (ANSAmed).