RAMALLAH, West Bank, Nov. 5, 2016 /CNW/ - Their Excellencies the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, and Mrs. Sharon Johnston, along with a broad-based Canadian delegation, completed today an historic first visit to the West Bank, the last leg of a one-week mission to the Middle East. It was an opportunity to underscore the importance of the relationship between the Canadian and the Palestinian peoples in the areas of humanitarian assistance, economic development, security, education and innovation.
"Canada has a robust development program in the West Bank, which helps strengthen governance and enhance economic prospects for Palestinians. We are working to foster innovation, to increase resilience and to improve the lives of all members of their society, in particular women and children," said the Governor General following a meeting with President Abbas. "We want to encourage entrepreneurship, ensure the business climate can be more conducive to growth, and facilitate connections between Canadian and Palestinian entrepreneurs. By doing so, we will increase opportunities and hope for Palestinians and overall prosperity for the region. This mission was an opportunity to underline the strength of the people-to-people ties between Canadians and Palestinians."
Their Excellencies and the Canadian delegation visited The Church of Nativity, in Bethlehem, located over the cave, the birthplace of Jesus. In previous legs of their visit to the Middle East, they also had the opportunity to see holy sites in Bethany Beyond the Jordan and Jerusalem.
Here are some highlights from the visit.
Security Cooperation: A Pillar to Stability in the Region
Canada is investing in security to build a society based on peace and the rule of law, that responds to the needs and aspirations of Palestinians, and that facilitates security cooperation. During his visit, the Governor General inaugurated a forensic science laboratory that will provide technical support to police officers and scientists in forensic criminal science. The project is being supported by Canadian funding and technical assistance.
"An effective justice sector serves as the foundation of a democratic state. By improving forensic services in the West Bank, this important project, funded by Canada, will support the building of a law-based, peaceful society that responds to the needs and aspirations of Palestinians," said the Governor General after unveiling a plaque commemorating the inauguration of the new facilities. "Our country is proud to be one of the main donors to the justice sector with a portfolio of projects that are directly aligned with Palestinian needs and priorities."
Supporting Humanitarian Needs of the Palestinian People
Their Excellencies and the Canadian delegation saw first-hand the impact of Canada's investment in green technology. They saw the solar panels recently installed at the Al-Shurooq School for Blind Children in Beit Jala near Bethlehem. The school helps blind children to achieve their full potential.
As Patron of CARE Canada, Her Excellency Sharon Johnston, accompanied by members of the Canadian delegation, gained a better understanding of the day-to-day lives of women living in Ramallah when she met with local women entrepreneurs who opened a café. Their project became a reality with the support of the Canadian-funded development programs of CARE International.
Partners in Innovation and Development
The Governor General and Canadian delegate Jean Lebel, President of International Development Research Centre, took part in a discussion on environmental innovation in agriculture to share knowledge and promote learning on issues related to these areas of research. The event also highlighted a partnership between Canada and Bethlehem University on the development of a community garden to educate youth on sustainable and innovative environmental practices.
Completion of the first visit to the Middle East
Their Excellencies and the accompanying delegation were in Jordan, Israel and the West Bank, from October 29 to November 5, 2016.
For the complete remarks by the Governor General and for photos and videos of the events that took place in the West Bank, visit www.gg.ca.
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SOURCE Governor General of Canada
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