It was announced yesterday at the UPU’s 24th Universal Postal Congress in Geneva that the Israeli and Palestinian postal authorities had been discussing solutions aimed at improving the operations and quality of the Palestinian Authority’s postal services “with the aim of strengthening international postal cooperation.”Both parties pledged to start facilitating direct exchanges between the Palestinian Authority and UPU members as of now, in a joint declaration read out by UPU Director General Edouard Dayan.Welcoming the spirit of dialogue and cooperation shown by both parties, Mr. Dayan described the declaration as “an important development” in the UPU’s efforts to improve the quality of the Palestinian postal service and to help it become “better integrated into the world postal community.”“The technical and operational solutions that are envisaged will enable the Palestinian postal services to launch direct mail exchanges, and will establish the rights and duties associated with terminal dues and the UPU Quality of Service Fund,” he stated.Terminal dues are the compensation countries receive for handling international mail arriving from other countries.Mr. Dayan called on the international postal community to lend its support to the Palestinian Authority’s postal services. The UPU, based in the Swiss city of Berne, is the primary forum for cooperation among the world’s postal services. Among other things, it sets the rules for international mail exchanges among its members and makes recommendations to stimulate mail volume growth and to improve the quality of service for customers. 7 August 2008Israeli and Palestinian postal authorities have agreed to start direct mail exchanges between the Palestinian Authority and the 191 member countries of the United Nations Universal Postal Union (UPU), with mail transiting through Jordan.