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European Union (EU)
2 September 2005
EU Gymnich 2005: Press conference with Jack Straw and Javier Solana
Foreign Ministers Informal (Gymnich)
Celtic Manor, Newport, Wales
Rt Hon Jack Straw MP, UK Foreign Secretary and Javier Solana, High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy and Secretary-General of the Council of the European Union
Opening comments by Jack Straw
I am joined by Javier Solana, High Representative. In terms of the key issue that is preoccupying me, namely internet access by journalists, I am, once again, sorry. A lot of effort was made yesterday to ensure that it was restored; I have received a letter from the company responsible for the service and I will be talking to the gentleman later today. I gather that it was restored as quickly as possible, but our apologies for that. I hope that, otherwise, you have enjoyed the facilities at the Celtic Manor Resort, as well as the weather.
Gaza and the West Bank
At lunch, we had a very interesting briefing by Jim Wolfensohn, former president of the World Bank, who is now leading the international effort to provide assistance and reconstruction and, more widely, to help facilitate the withdrawal from Gaza and the four settlements in the West Bank. We had a very good discussion about what has been achieved, with recognition and thanks to the efforts of the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority that the withdrawal from Gaza and the four settlements in the northern West Bank has gone better than anticipated, although there are concerns about the immediate and longer-term future. We also expressed appreciation for the continuing efforts of Javier Solana in the region, and we look to the meeting on the Quartet principles, which is to be held on 20 September in New York.
Questions and Answers
Have you agreed any set of measures with regard to Gaza and the West Bank as to how to further the peace process with the West Bank’s involvement?
Those measures are agreed; they are set out in Security Council resolutions and the roadmap. Today we were talking about the tangible ways in which we get on the roadmap following the withdrawal from Gaza and the four settlements in the north of the West Bank.