BARCELONA, 20 January 2016 (WAFA) – Secretary General of the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) Fathallah Sijilmassi Wednesday reaffirmed the commitment to support the Palestinian Government in its socio-economic initiatives and stressed the importance of Palestine in the Euro-Mediterranean agenda.

Sijilmassi made UfM’s position clear during a meeting held with Minister of Foreign Affairs Riyadh Al-Malki to discuss Euro-Mediterranean cooperation and regional challenges, as well as Palestine’s active involvement in UfM initiatives and projects.

Meanwhile, Al-Malki highlighted the strong political support given by Palestine to the UfM.

According to UfM’s press release, “The discussions also focused on the UfM-labelled project ‘Desalination Facility for the Gaza Strip’, which aims at building a large-scale desalination facility and its associated water supply infrastructure that will supply drinking water to more than 1.8 million Palestinian inhabitants of the Gaza Strip, thereby presenting a long-term solution for the chronic and longstanding water shortage in Gaza.”

The project counts on the support of a large group of countries and institutions, UfM said.

The Secretariat together with the Palestinian Water Authority is expected to organize a coordination meeting in Barcelona in February 2016 among the IFIs, the European Commission, and the Palestinian Water Authority (PWA) to address the remaining technical issues and pave the way for a Donor’s Conference later in 2016.

The project is expected to be launched by the end of 2016.