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17 October 2006
THE EUROPEAN UNION
2756th EXTERNAL RELATIONS Council meeting
Luxembourg, 16-17 October 2006
ON THE MIDDLE EAST
The Council adopted the following conclusions:
- Middle East Peace Process
The Council welcomed the statement by the Quartet at its meeting in New York on 20 September and, in particular, the Quartet's intention to reinforce its activity, including with the parties and regional partners. The Council recalled the urgent need to make progress towards a comprehensive settlement to the Arab-Israeli conflict, based on relevant UN Security Council resolutions and the Roadmap, and with a negotiated two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict at its core. It welcomed the consensus within the international community to that effect. The Council underlined that the EU would continue actively its efforts to this end.
The Council expressed its support to President Abbas and called on the Palestinians to join his efforts towards national unity and the formation of a government with a platform reflecting the Quartet principles and allowing for early engagement. Such a government would also be a key factor for allowing the EU to pursue its goal of strengthening the capacity of Palestinian institutions. The Council called on all Palestinian factions to end their internal strife.
The Council underlined the importance of an early resumption of dialogue between the two parties with a view to re-launching negotiations on the basis of the Roadmap. The Council recalled the utmost importance of the full implementation of the Agreement on Movement and Access, particularly the permanent opening of the Rafah, Karni and other crossings. The Council reiterated its call for the immediate release of the abducted Israeli soldier. It repeated its call for the immediate release of Palestinian Ministers and legislators in Israeli custody. It called for an end to violence and for restraint on both sides.