23 April 1998 (Not distributed)

Letter from Dr. Nasser Al-Kidwa, Permanent Observer of Palestine to the U.N., to the Secretary-General of the United Nations: (Bethlehem 2000)

Bethlehem, Palestine is one of the most historic and sacred sites on earth. Emboldened by this legacy and determined to honor the 2000th anniversary of the birth of Jesus Christ and the new millennium, the Palestinian National Authority is launching the Bethlehem 2000 Project. This is an ambitious program involving cultural and religious celebrations, urban and economic rejuvenation and tourism development and promotion.

On 11 and 12 May 1998, the Bethlehem 2000 Project, in association with the European Commission, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the World Bank, will convene the Bethlehem 2000 Participants Conference. The Conference is being hosted by the European Commission and will be held at the Palais d’Egmont in Brussels, Belgium. This Conference will provide an opportunity for decision-makers from governments, the private sector, the international financial community, religious and cultural institutions and the media to participate towards the success of the Bethlehem 2000 Project through financial contributions, investment, expertise and international attention.

In this regard, it is my honor to request a message of endorsement of the Bethlehem 2000 Project from Your Excellency, in your capacity as the Secretary-General of the United Nations. Your endorsement in support of the Bethlehem 2000 Project would be of great significance and would be read aloud at the upcoming Conference.

In the year 2000, the past and the future will meet in Bethlehem in a global vision of hope and peace for all peoples. It is a formidable task, but with the assistance and participation of influential figures from the fields of politics, business, development, religion, culture, academia and the media, we will strive to make this vision a reality.