Question of Palestine home
"As is" reference - not a United Nations document
23 May 2007
EU High Representative for CFSP,
met President Hosni MUBARAK and Amr MOUSSA in Cairo
Egypt, 22 and 23 May 2007
After his stops in Israel and Lebanon, Javier SOLANA, EU High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP), flew to Cairo, where he met President Hosni MUBARAK and Amr MOUSSA, Secretary General of the Arab League.
Talking to the press, Javier Solana said EU Foreign Affairs Ministers had had a meeting in Brussels last week with a delegation from the Arab League, during which the EU reaffirmed its support to the Arab Peace Initiative for the Middle-East:
"We met a week ago in Brussels. Much has happened since then and we must see now how we can reduce tension in the region. We are determined to help and to work with that purpose. People need peace."
The High Representative underlined that co-operation with Egypt was very good: "We share a vision on how to co-operate. Our co-operation with Egypt is excellent".
On the Israel-Palestine conflict, Mr SOLANA reiterated the EU's support for a two-state solution with a viable Palestinian state along the borders of 1967, living in peace and security with its neighbours. He expressed concern at reports of plans for more Israeli settlements in the Palestinian occupied territories.
Mr SOLANA stressed again that the European Union was standing by the Palestinian people, as it had always done, and would never let them down. The EU was sending more money than ever in assistance for the Palestinians (over EUR 600 million in 2006. This aid benefits hundreds of thousands of people on low incomes and is, for example, paying in full for the fuel used to generate electricity.
Mr SOLANA said that, in response to a request from the Palestinian Authority and Israel, the European Union was extending its Border Assistance Mission in Rafah (EUBAM Rafah) for another year, with effect from 25 May. This was a very good signal, especially amidst the dramatic events in the region that he was witnessing himself while there. The Rafah border crossing point was, he said, very important for the Palestinians. The EU border monitors did not have executive powers but it was important that the crossing point should operate even more efficiently, and should open normally, every day, with transfers of cash and of people and goods of concern monitored more strictly.
"Our presence at the Rafah border crossing point will continue, but we have to make sure that our presence there can be even more effective. We need better arrangements concerning the opening and the closing of the border."
Concerning the situation in Lebanon, Javier Solana reaffirmed the European Union's support for Prime Minister SINIORA and his government and hoped that a solution could be found to end the political stalemate. He hoped that the UN resolution on the establishment of an international tribunal to try those responsible for the assassination of the former prime minister Rafik Hariri would be adopted soon.
"I was in Lebanon yesterday where I reiterated our support to Fouad Siniora and his government. We are also supporting Lebanon with our participation in the United Nations Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), where EU Member States make up the majority of contributors, and with the major pledges made by EU Member States at the Donors Conference in Paris."
On the clashes in the Palestinian refugee camp near Tripoli, Mr SOLANA hoped that calm would soon be restored and again voiced his support for the statement by the Arab League condemning the terrorist acts and supporting the Lebanese national army. Mr Solana said that he was concerned about the humanitarian situation in the refugee camps.
After Cairo, the High Representative will travel to Ramallah and Gaza where he will meet the Palestinian Authorities, including President Mahmoud Abbas, and back to Israel where he will conclude his visit with a meeting with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.
"As is" reference - not a UN document
25 May 2007
EU High Representative for CFSP,
calls for the restoration of calm and unity
during his visit to the Palestinian Territories
Gaza, 24 May 2007
During his visit to the Palestinian Territories on Thursday, Javier Solana, EU High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP), met Mahmoud ABBAS, President of the Palestinian Authority, and Foreign Minister Ziad Abu AMR in Gaza. He also met Salam FAYYAD, Minister of Finance, and Saeb EREKAT, Head of the Palestinian Negotiation Team in Ramallah. The following is an edited summary of remarks by Mr SOLANA at a joint press conference with President ABBAS in Gaza:
"I am very pleased to be here in Gaza. I wanted to come to be with you at this moment. I wanted to show solidarity with President Abbas and to be here in person.
We talked about many topics, including the inter-Palestinian violence and the violence between Palestinians and Israel. President Abbas is making huge efforts to find a way to stop the factional violence. He is having meetings with all the factions and all the parties to try to improve the situation. The President is staying in Gaza for as long as it takes.
Tension has been going up too much, it must come down. The rocket attacks against Israel must stop. This violence leads nowhere. I think there is a feeling among Palestinians that violence does not lead anywhere. We need dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians, to solve the problems like sensible do.
We talked about economic aid. We will continue to work and try to solve the economic problems the Palestinian people are facing. We also talked about the Rafah border crossing point. This is very important for you, in particular for you the people here in Gaza. We have been asked to stay and we have agreed to do so, to help you as much as we can.
We also talked about Lebanon. I met Prime Minister Siniora on Tuesday in Beirut. I was there to show my support in a difficult moment and to help the Prime Minister in his efforts to calm a difficult situation.
We talked about the region as a whole. We must see how we can calm down the violence and return to a culture of politics and diplomacy.
I want to say that it is a great pleasure for me to be here. My presence in Gaza is a sign of the solidarity of the European Union with the Palestinian people. "
In answer to a question by a journalist concerning the arrests that morning by Israel of members of Hamas, Mr SOLANA indicated that arresting elected representatives was not helpful.