EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton with
EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton with Reuters

The European Union signed an aid deal Tuesday with the Palestinian Authority to reportedly bolster ties and promote economic development.

EU foreign affairs head Catherine Ashton told visiting Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad that an action plan approved by EU leaders was based on a "shared commitment to deepen our bilateral relations and strengthen our privileged partnership,” AFP reported.

The plan provides eventually for a "fully-fledged Association Agreement" with the EU, Ashton noted.

Ashton said the relationship was based on a commitment to a “Palestinian state,” sustainable economic development, fiscal consolidation and "enhancing social cohesion throughout Palestine."

The focus will be on East Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip and Area C, the 60 percent of Judea and Samaria under Israeli control.

"I am looking forward to working constructively with all partners towards a significant change in Area C," Ashton said, according to AFP.

Fayyad said Area C "is of vital importance to the economic and political viability" of a future “Palestinian state,” despite Jewish claims to the land.  

The two leaders signed a seven-million-euro EU funding agreement ahead of a meeting of Palestinian donors later Tuesday to "address the deepening financial crisis of the Palestinian Authority."

On Monday, the Palestinian Authority alleged that the state of Israel is to blame for the lack of economic development, when in fact the Jewish state supplies PA residents with gas and electricity, has recently taken additional measures to expand imports into the territories, and provides as a myriad of other services.