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"As is" reference - not a United Nations document

Source: European Union
29 October 2001

Declaration by the European Union on the Middle East,
on the 10th anniversary of the Madrid Peace Conference, 29 October 2001
On the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the Madrid Conference, the European Union feels it necessary to reiterate its conviction that the "peace-process" framework so laboriously worked out in the course of negotiations and agreements between the various parties constitutes the only reasonable hope of putting an end to a conflict which, if it continues, can only compound the sufferings of the peoples affected.

The situation in the Middle East, is steadily worsening. Over the last few days, violence has reached a level not seen for many years. Distrust, fear and resentment are leading to radical polarisation. The absence of any political prospects is fuelling further confrontation and playing into the hands of the extremists.

The European Union calls on the Israelis and Palestinians, immediately, without pre-conditions and while there is still time, to return to the path of negotiation on the basis of the recommendations in the Mitchell Report and Tenet Plan. It asks the Israeli authorities to withdraw their troops immediately from the zone that is exclusively under Palestinian administration (Zone A). It asks the Palestinian authority to do its utmost to arrest those responsible for acts of violence against Israel.

In the course of the peace process, numerous stages have been completed, despite difficulties and obstacles of every kind. This has produced the elements of an agreement which it is necessary to preserve and, more importantly, bring to fruition, in particular:

– the principles of the Madrid Conference, in particular the principle of land for peace,

– United Nations Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338,

– the agreements signed by the parties, which have led to real results on the ground, and the progress made in previous negotiations.

In the present situation, the European Union calls on both parties to do their utmost on the political, security, economic and social fronts, to return to the path of negotiation without prior conditions and with the objective of satisfying the legitimate expectations of the peoples in the region as expressed at the Madrid Conference in 1991:

– for the Palestinians, the establishing of a viable and democratic State and an end to the occupation of their territories,

– for the Israelis, the right to live in peace and security within internationally recognised borders.

The European Union would also point out that the search for a comprehensive and lasting peace in the region requires due account to be taken of the Israel-Syria and Israel-Lebanon aspects of the conflict, to which a solution based on the same principles must be found.

The search for peace is above all a matter for the parties themselves through a process of negotiation of all elements making up the Permanent Status. This also involves the prospect of a just and viable solution to the particularly complex issues of Jerusalem and refugees, and the provision of economic support for the Palestinian population. The European Union, in close collaboration with the United States and the other partners concerned, reaffirms its readiness to assist in finding a definitive solution to the conflict.

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