PA PM Salam Fayyad and Japanese PM Shinzo Abe
PA PM Salam Fayyad and Japanese PM Shinzo Abe Reuters

Japan is hosting the first meeting of Asian countries to discuss the issue of financial assistance to the Palestinian Authority.  

The Conference on Cooperation among East Asian Countries for Palestinian Development (CEAPAD), taking place February 13 and 14, is being jointly hosted by Japan and the Palestinian Authority.

Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad urged East Asian donors on Thursday to share their wealth and knowledge with the PA saying, "We find your experience in East Asia highly inspiring," citing the way countries in the region have moved away from reliance on overseas aid and risen to become economic powers, AFP reported.

The meeting drew ministers and senior officials from Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, South Korea, Vietnam, the United Nations, the World Bank, the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), the Islamic Development Bank, and the League of Arab States.

China was not invited, a Japanese diplomat said.

Japan, the third largest donor to the PA -- after the US and the EU -- sought to bring together fellow Asian nations and major global organizations to enhance East Asia's diplomatic and economic presence in the Middle East, the diplomat said.

Fayyad complained that the so-called “Israeli occupation” has hampered the development of a sustainable political process as well as that of social and economic institutions, according to AFP.

He asked East Asian nations for help in a wide range of areas "to benefit from vast wealth of experiences and expertise that your countries have amassed over years of development."

"A number of you excelled and developed and moved from a state of reliance on aid, where we are today, to being in a state of being powerhouses in the economic sphere," he said, according to the news agency.

The conference was not designed to solicit fresh aid pledges, Japanese diplomats have said.