RAMALLAH, 23rd May, 2016 (WAM) — Officials of the United States and Palestine attended a U.S-Palestinian Economic Dialogue in Ramallah on Sunday, with the purpose of providing an ongoing mechanism for the two sides to address economic challenges and identify opportunities to help advance the overarching objective of achieving a negotiated two-state solution, with a viable Palestinian state living side-by-side in peace with Israel, the Palestinian news agency, WAFA, has reported.

A press statement issued by the U.S Consulate-General’s Press Office noted that this was the first U.S-Palestinian Economic Dialogue since 2004. “The United States is planning to host the next round of talks in Washington next year.”

The statement continued, “The United Sates seeks to work with the Palestinians to strengthen the Palestinian economy and enhance the overall investment climate so as to shift the Palestinian economy to a more sustainable, less donor-dependent growth model.”

In his remarks, Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs, Charles H. Rivkin, said, “We understand the close and productive economic engagement with the Palestinian people is key to our joint goals in the region. This [dialogue] is not only about identifying ways the United States can support the Palestinian economy. We also want to strengthen the ties between our respective business communities.”

A range of Washington-based economic policy offices and agencies travelled to the West Bank to coordinate with Palestinian officials on bilateral and regional economic issues.