"As is" reference - not a United Nations document
"Minister Shalom and I had an interesting discussion on a number of issues that are of common interest to the EU and to Israel with a special focus on the recently completed Gaza disengagement. I congratulated him on the disengagement from Gaza and part of West Bank, and for the smooth and orderly way the withdrawal has been conducted. We appreciate this was a big step for Israel. We also acknowledge the role of the Palestinian President, Abu Mazen, in facilitating events.
Disengagement creates an opportunity we must not miss to move ahead on the key issues of the peace process. It must be a step towards implementation of the Road Map and not an end in itself.
I have also reiterated to Minister Shalom that disengagement has to bring tangible and immediate improvement to the lives of ordinary Palestinians. It has to offer hope to both sides. We are working closely with James Wolfensohn, the Quartet Special Envoy, on ways to revitalise the Palestinian economy. We have offered our help and support to resolve crucial issues such as border crossing, customs and links between West Bank and Gaza.
Finally, I have informed Foreign Minister Shalom my intention to visit the region in the near future."
The European Commission welcomes the Israeli disengagement from the Gaza Strip and Northern parts of the West Bank as a significant step towards implementing the Quartet Road Map.
In support of disengagement and the peace process, the Commission is preparing a specific €60 million package to accompany disengagement. This is designed to provide support for new projects particularly in the field of customs administration, transport and energy supply, infrastructure and health and social services. Selection of specific projects will be done together with the Palestinian Authority and in close coordination with Member States and the Quartet’s Special Envoy, Wolfensohn. These measures come on top of a €20 million package announced previously for social support to refugees in the Gaza Strip.