Canada's foreign affairs minister in Middle East
Canada's Foreign affairs minister travelled to the Middle East on Saturday for talks with several leaders on how to achieve a lasting peace in the region.
Lawrence Cannon planned to meet in Amman, Jordan with his Jordanian counterpart, Nasir Joudeh, and later with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas.
On Sunday, Cannon will be in Jerusalem to meet with Israeli officials and Monday he'll be in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, for a conference on reconstruction in Gaza. Delegates will discuss how to meet the humanitarian needs of Gaza's population.
Cannon has said he hopes the meetings will offer some insights on how the international community can best support peace efforts.
Last month, Cannon announced Canada is giving $4 million to humanitarian efforts in the Gaza Strip. Canada announced in 2007 that it would provide $300 million over five years for development assistance in the West Bank and Gaza.
The flow of international relief aid to help Palestinians rebuild follows Israel's decision to end its 22-day offensive in Gaza on Jan. 18.
Egypt has been struggling to mediate a more permanent ceasefire deal between the two sides in recent weeks.
Abbas insists on lead role in rebuilding Gaza
Abbas on Saturday said his Palestinian Authority should be in charge of distributing money collected from donor nations, echoing the view of the European Union's foreign policy chief, Javier Solana.
"I would like to insist in agreement with the president [Abbas] that the mechanism used to deploy the money is the one that represents the Palestinian Authority," Solana said after a meeting with Abbas in the West Bank city of Ramallah. "I don't think there is a need for new mechanisms."
Solana toured the Gaza Strip on Friday, becoming the highest-ranking European official to visit the territory since Hamas consolidated its power in Gaza in 2007, a year after winning legislative elections.
With files from the Canadian Press