15 April 2004 – United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan welcomes the possibility of an Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip but hopes that such a step would spark the renewal of the Road Map to peace, his spokesperson said today.
Responding to questions at the daily press briefing in New York, spokesperson Marie Okabe said the Secretary-General "continues to believe that such a withdrawal should be complete and represent the end of the Israeli occupation of Gaza."
Mr. Annan also "reiterates his position that final status issues should be determined in negotiations between the parties based on relevant Security Council resolutions," she added. "He strongly believes that they should refrain from taking any steps that would prejudice or pre-empt the outcome of such talks."
The Road Map is a plan put forward by the so-called Quartet of the UN, European Union, Russian Federation and United States that calls for a series of parallel and reciprocal steps to be taken by Israel and Palestinians.
Meanwhile at a meeting in Geneva to discuss the effect of Israel's construction of a separation barrier in the occupied Palestinian territory, the Secretary-General sent a message which said that attempts by Israelis and Palestinians to achieve political goals or security through measures that injure the other are "bound to fail."
"Over the long term, the only real hope lies in realizing the vision, widely supported by the international community, of a region where two States - Israel and Palestine - live side by side in peace, within secure and recognized borders," said the Secretary-General's message, delivered on his behalf by Sergei Ordzhonikidze, Director-General of the UN Office at Geneva.