Select Committee on Foreign Affairs Minutes of Evidence

Annex VI


  The crisis in the Middle East has reached a dramatic turning point. Further escalation will render the situation uncontrollable. The parties on their own cannot find a solution. There is an urgent need for political action by the whole international community. The Quartet has a key role to play in starting a peace process.

  The European Council supports the early convening of an international conference. That conference should address political and economic aspects as well as matters relating to security. It should confirm the parameters of the political solution and establish a realistic and well-defined timescale.

  The European Council strongly condemns all terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians. The peace process and the stability of the region cannot be hostage to terrorism. The fight against terrorism must go on; but so at the same time must the negotiation of a political solution.

  A settlement can be achieved through negotiation, and only through negotiation. The objective is an end to the occupation and the early establishment of a democratic, viable, peaceful and sovereign State of Palestine, on the basis of the 1967 borders, if necessary with minor adjustments agreed by the parties. The end result should be two States living side by side within secure and recognised borders enjoying normal relations with their neighbours. In this context, a fair solution should be found to the complex issue of Jerusalem, and a just, viable and agreed solution to the problem of the Palestinian refugees.

  The reform of the Palestinian Authority is essential. The European Council expects the PA to make good its commitment to security reform, early elections and political and administrative reform. The European Union reaffirms its willingness to continue to assist in these reforms.

  Military operations in the Occupied Territories must cease. Restrictions on freedom of movement must be lifted. Walls will not bring peace.

  The European Union stands ready to contribute fully to peace-building, as well as to the reconstruction of the Palestinian economy as an integral part of regional development.

  The European Union will work with the parties and with its partners in the international community, especially with the United States in the framework of the Quartet, to pursue every opportunity for peace and for a decent future for all the people of the region.

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