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EU Policy

Statement by the Presidency of the EU, 4 August 2002

The Presidency of the European Union condemns in the most categorical terms today's terror attacks against an Israeli bus near Safed and the shooting incident near the Old City of Jerusalem, leaving more than 11 killed and many more injured.

The Presidency expresses its deepest sympathy and condolences to all the families of the victims and to the people and the Government of Israel.

Civilians have been targeted in attacks for which Hamas again claims responsibility. Hamas has furthermore in an appalling statement given warning of a series of actions in retaliation of the Israeli air strike in Gaza less than two weeks ago. This can only be seen as yet another deliberate attempt by Hamas to derail all efforts to fulfil the aspirations of the Palestinian people.

The Presidency strongly urges militant Palestinian groups and the leadership of Hamas to refrain from further terror actions. We also urge the Palestinian leadership to take all measures to prevent further terror and to take upon themselves to bring the perpetrators to justice.

Both parties must do their outmost to work towards bringing the present cycle of violence to a halt. The Presidency strongly urges the parties to continue the recent bilateral talks.

Declaration of the Presidency of the EU on the Middle East, 25 June 2002

The Presidency of the EU welcomes the speech on the Middle East by President Bush, as a new step forward in the United States engagement in the search for a solution to the Middle East conflict.

The Presidency of the EU recalls the EU commitment to this search, on the basis of its well-known positions, as recently reiterated by the European Council in Seville. The EU is ready to continue joining efforts with the US and other partners of the Quartet, the parties and the countries of the region, to find a just, global and lasting peace in the Middle East.

The EU shares the vision of two states living side by side in peace and security expressed by President Bush, which includes an end to the occupation and the early establishment of a sovereign, viable and peaceful State of Palestine with democratic institutions. A reform in depth of the Palestinian institutions is essential. The EU is ready to continue supporting the Palestinian institution building and reform efforts. It is the right and responsibility of the Palestinian people to choose their leadership through democratic and fair elections.

Therefore, the Presidency of the EU urges the Government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority to take all the necessary measures to create the security, political and economic conditions so that democratic elections can be held soon. Terrorism must come to an end; military occupation must cease; negotiations must be resumed.

The search for a negotiated solution requires urgent political action by the international community. An international conference should provide the adequate framework.

Seville European Council, Declaration on Middle East, 21-22 June 2002

The crisis in the Middle East has reached a dramatic turning point. Further escalation will render the solution 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 initiating a process towards peace.

The European Council supports the early convening of an international conference. This conference should address political as well as security and economic aspects. It should reaffirm 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 should cease. Restrictions on freedom of movement should 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.'

Declaration of Barcelona on the Middle East, 16 March 2002

The Middle East is in the grip of an extremely grave crisis. The EU calls on both sides to take immediate and effective action to stop the bloodshed. There is no military solution to this conflict. Peace and security can only be achieved through negotiations.

To find a way out of the present situation it is essential to address the security, political and economic aspects as inseparable and interdependent elements of a single process. There is a need to restore a sound political perspective and to implement in parallel political and security measures in a mutually reinforcing way. The European Council warmly welcomes the adoption of UNSC resolution 1397, which reflects the strong commitment of the international community in this regard.

This Resolution must be urgently implemented, in particular the demand for an immediate cessation of all acts of violence, including all acts of terror, provocation, incitement and destruction; and the call for the Israeli and Palestinian sides and their leaders to co-operate in the implementation of the Tenet work Plan and Mitchell Report recommendations with the aim of resuming negotiations on a political settlement.

The indiscriminate terrorist attacks over the past weeks, killing and injuring innocent civilians must be condemned. As the legitimate authority, the PA bears the full responsibility for fighting terrorism with all the legitimate means at its disposal. Its capacity to do so must not be weakened. Israel, notwithstanding its right to fight terrorism, must immediately withdraw its military forces from areas placed under the control of the PA, stop extra-judicial executions, lift the closures and restrictions, freeze settlements and respect international law. Both parties must respect international human rights standards. The use of excessive force cannot be justified. The actions against medical and humanitarian institutions and personnel are absolutely unacceptable. They must be able to fully perform their function.

Taking note of the decision by the Government of Israel to release Palestinian Authority President Arafat from his confinement in Ramallah, the European Council demands that all remaining restrictions on his freedom of movement be immediately lifted.

The European Council welcomes the decision of the US President to send Special Envoy Zinni back to the region. The EU, notably through the EUSR Ambassador Moratinos, is ready to combine its efforts with him, with the Special Envoy of the Russian Federation and the UN Special Co-ordinator.

The European Council remains convinced that a third party monitoring mechanism would help both parties to pursue their efforts to that end and urges them to consider proposals to accept observers. The EU and the Member States are prepared to participate in such a mechanism.

The EU is determined to play its role together with the parties, the countries in the region, the US, the UN and Russia in the pursuit of a solution, based on UNSC Resolutions 242, 338 and 1397 and on the principles of the Madrid Conference, Oslo and subsequent agreements, which would allow two states, Israel and Palestine, to live in peace and security and play their full part in the region. The High Representative, Javier Solana, will continue his regular consultations with all international actors involved.

On the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the overall objective is two-fold: the creation of a democratic, viable and independent State of Palestine, bringing to an end the occupation of 1967, and the right of Israel to live within safe and secure boundaries, guaranteed by the commitment of the international community, and in particular the Arab countries.

The European Council welcomes the recent initiative of Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, which is based on the concept of full normalization and full withdrawal in accordance with UN resolutions, and offers a unique opportunity to be seized in the interest of a just, lasting and comprehensive solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict. It looks to the forthcoming Summit of the Arab League in Beirut to take this forward and to the Government and people of Israel to respond positively.

The European Council recognises and praises those who continue to work tirelessly for peace within the peace camps of Israeli and Palestinian society and supports the direct contacts and dialogue that both parties are conducting.

Following on its present effort, the EU will make a full and substantial economic contribution to peace-building in the region,with the aim of improving the living conditions of the Palestinian people, of consolidating and supporting the PA, of strengthening the economic basis of the future State of Palestine and of promoting development and regional economic integration. In this perspective, the EU stands ready to contribute to the reconstruction of the Palestinian economy as an integral part of regional development.

The EU remains convinced that, in order to be durable, peace in the Middle East must be comprehensive.

Barcelona Summit information on Spanish Presidency website

GAC: 28 January 2002: Conclusions on the Middle East