Israeli, Palestinian farm minister meet after threat of embargo
Israeli Agriculture Minister Shalom Simhon met Sunday, August 19, with his Palestinian counterpart Hikmat Zaid to discuss the free movement of agricultural goods after the Palestinian threatened to embargo Israeli farm produce.
The two ministers agreed to set up joint committees to study the free movement of Palestinian veterinary surgeons around the West Bank and Gaza, as well as the transport of agricultural produce, the Israeli ministry said.
Zaid threatened last week to slap an embargo on a number of Israeli agricultural products in retaliation for the Israeli army's restrictions of Palestinian movement through and between the two Palestinian regions.
He said the restrictions, put in place when the Palestinian uprising started in September, were destroying the farming sector while the lack of access to veterinary surgeons was threatening outbreaks of disease among Palestinian livestock.
The meeting was the first ministerial level encounter since mid-July between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, as relations have been frozen amid growing violence.
Israel exports around 11,000 tons of fruit and vegetables every month to the Palestinian territories, mostly to the Gaza Strip in the south. The Palestinians export 7,000 tons, according to the Israeli agriculture ministry. ― (AFP, Jerusalem)
© Agence France Presse 2001
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