The Summit-level Council of the League of Arab States,
Reaffirming the decision of the extraordinary Arab summit conference held in Cairo in June 1996 that a just and comprehensive peace is a strategic choice for the Arab States to be achieved in accordance with international legality and to require an equivalent commitment in this regard on the part of Israel,
Having heard the statement in which His Royal Highness Prince Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz, Crown Prince of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, presented his Initiative and called for Israel’s full withdrawal from all the Arab territories that have been occupied since 1967, in implementation of Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973) as confirmed by the 1991 Madrid Conference and the principle of land for peace, and for its acceptance of the emergence of an independent and sovereign Palestinian State with East Jerusalem as its capital in return for the establishment by the Arab States of normal relations in the context of a comprehensive peace with Israel,
Proceeding from the conviction of the Arab States that a military solution to the conflict will not achieve peace or provide security for any of the parties,
1. Requests Israel to re-examine its policies and to incline towards peace and declare that a just peace is also its own strategic choice;
2. Further calls upon it:
(a) To withdraw fully from the occupied Arab territories, including the Syrian Golan, to the line of 4 June 1967, and from the territories in southern Lebanon that are still occupied;
(b) To arrive at a just and agreed solution to the Palestine refugee problem in accordance with United Nations General Assembly resolution 194 (III);
(c) To accept the establishment of an independent, sovereign Palestinian State in the Palestinian territories occupied since 4 June 1967 in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, with East Jerusalem as its capital;
3. Undertakes that the Arab States shall then:
(a) Consider the Arab-Israeli conflict at an end and enter into a peace agreement between them and Israel while achieving security for all the States of the region;
(b) Establish normal relations with Israel in the context of this comprehensive peace;
4. Guarantees the rejection of all forms of Palestinian resettlement, which is incompatible with the special situation in the Arab host countries;
5. Urges the Government of Israel and all Israelis to accept the foregoing Initiative in order to safeguard the prospects for peace and spare further bloodshed, thus enabling the Arab States and Israel to live side by side in peace and ensuring for generations to come a secure future in which stability and prosperity can prevail;
6. Invites the international community and all its constituent States and organizations to support this Initiative;
7. Requests the Chairman of the summit to form a special committee, to include interested member States and the Secretary-General of the League, to pursue the necessary contacts to gain support for this Initiative at all levels and in particular from the United Nations, the Security Council, the United States of America, the Russian Federation, the Islamic countries and the European Union.
To enable progress towards our shared goals, we reaffirm that UN Security Council resolution 1402 (2002) must be fully implemented immediately, as called for in Security Council resolution 1403 (2002). We call on Israel to halt immediately its military operations. We call for an immediate, meaningful cease-fire and an immediate Israeli withdrawal from Palestinian cities, including Ramallah, specifically including Chairman Arafat's headquarters. We call on Israel to fully comply with international humanitarian principles and to allow full and unimpeded access to humanitarian organizations and services. We call on Israel to refrain from the excessive use of force and undertake all possible efforts to ensure the protection of civilians.
We call on Chairman Arafat, as the recognized, elected leader of the Palestinian people, to undertake immediately the maximum possible effort to stop terror attacks against innocent Israelis. We call on the Palestinian Authority to act decisively and to take all possible steps within its capacity to dismantle terrorist infrastructure, including terrorist financing, and to stop incitement to violence. We call on Chairman Arafat to use the full weight of his political authority to persuade the Palestinian people that any and all terrorist attacks against Israelis should end immediately and to authorize his representatives to resume immediately security coordination with Israel.
Terrorism, including suicide bombs, is illegal and immoral, has inflicted grave harm to the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people, and must be condemned as called for in UN Security Council resolution 1373 (2001).
We call on Israel and the Palestinian Authority to reach agreement on cease-fire proposals put forward by General Zinni without further delay. We commend the efforts of General Zinni to date to achieve this objective.
The Quartet stands ready to assist the parties in implementing their agreements, in particular the Tenet security work plan and the Mitchell recommendations, including through a third-party mechanism, as agreed to by the parties.
We affirm that the Tenet and Mitchell plans must be fully implemented, including an end to all settlement activity. We affirm that there must be immediate, parallel and accelerated movement towards near-term and tangible political progress, and that there must be a defined series of steps leading to permanent peace - involving recognition, normalization and security between the sides, an end to Israeli occupation, and an end to the conflict. This will allow Israel to enjoy enduring peace and security and the Palestinian people to realize their hopes and aspirations in security and dignity.
In support of these objectives, we call on the international community, particularly the Arab States, to preserve, strengthen and assist the Palestinian Authority, including through efforts to rebuild its infrastructure, security and governance capacity. We call also on the donor community and the international financial institutions to renew their commitment to provide urgent humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian people, and to assist in economic and institutional reconstruction. We pay tribute to the courageous efforts of the humanitarian agencies and workers.
We agreed on the need to keep the situation in the Middle East under review by the Quartet at the principal's level through regular consultations. Our Special Envoys will continue their efforts on the ground to assist the parties in reaching an end to confrontation and resumption of political negotiations."
Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. I am pleased to welcome to the State Department today Secretary General Annan, Foreign Minister Ivanov, Foreign Minister Pique, and High Representative Solana of the European Union to the Department to continue the discussion that we began in Madrid on April 10th on ways to end the violence and move towards peace in the Middle East.
I expressed my appreciation to my colleagues for the declaration that we produced in Madrid on the 10th of April, and I expressed to them how important it was for me to have this unified body of opinion and thought behind me as I went through the Middle East and continued my work on behalf of President Bush and all of my colleagues represented here to try to move the process forward in the Middle East.
We also determined that it was important for us to remain together, to continue the dialogue, because this is quite a grouping up here; and I think it is a grouping that, working with the parties in the region, can produce success if we stick with it, if we show persistence and determination.
The United States, the United Nations, the European Union and the Russian Federation are committed to helping bring about a just, comprehensive and lasting peace in the Middle East. We are working for realization of the vision expressed by President Bush on April 4th of a Middle East where two states, Israel and Palestine, live side by side in peace and security with an internationally recognized border.
Terrorism and use of force only move the parties further from that goal. The only way forward is through negotiations guided by United Nations resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973) and 1397 (2002). Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah's important initiative, recently endorsed by the Arab League, should also play a very, very important and helpful role as we move forward.
We are encouraged by the peaceful resolution of the standoff in Ramallah, and we are especially pleased that international diplomacy could play a constructive role in defusing a situation that many predicted could only end in violence. We are pleased that Chairman Arafat now has the opportunity to show leadership. No longer contained in the muqataa, I trust that the Chairman will now move in a new direction, a new direction that will allow his leadership position to be used to denounce terrorism, denounce violence, and to say to the Palestinian people and to the organizations within the Palestinian movement that this is the time to find a peaceful way forward. And I have encouraged the Chairman to speak and act in this way in the meetings that I had with him, and I hope that now he will speak and act in that way as we move forward.
We are also hopeful that we will see a non-violent end to the current standoff at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. This is a holy place, and all of us will be in touch with the parties to encourage them to find an immediate solution to this problem so that the world does not continue to see this terrible picture on its television screens every evening.
We, the Quartet, as we have named ourselves, are committed to working with the Israelis and the Palestinians, with Arab Governments and with the international community to restore the hope of all the people in the region for a peaceful, secure and prosperous future. Our strategy, embracing the principles and goals set forth by President Bush, by Crown Prince Abdullah and by the UN resolutions that I made reference to earlier, consists of three elements. First, a restoration of security, security from terror and violence for Israelis and Palestinians. We will be encouraging Chairman Arafat to rebuild his security apparatus. We will ask for maximum efforts from the Palestinian Authority to restore calm.
To assist in this, the Quartet agrees on the need for making an assessment of Palestinian capabilities, setting clear security performance standards, and working to establish effective and responsible Palestinian security institutions, and to find ways for those institutions to work closely with Israeli institutions as we move forward to restore confidence between the two sides.
Our Director of Central Intelligence, George Tenet, has played an important role in the past in this kind of work, and I expect he will play an important role in the future. And General Tony Zinni, who has become very familiar with the security situation in the region in recent months, is also available to return to the region in the near future.
The second part of our strategy is to address the urgent humanitarian needs and make sure to get about the task of rebuilding strong, accountable, democratic, and market-oriented institutions for Palestinians as the basis for a vibrant Palestinian State. And I am encouraged by what I have heard from my colleagues here today about their willingness to join in this effort of economic reconstruction and humanitarian relief. The people in the region are in great need. The Palestinian people need access to jobs, need access to markets, need food, need medical supplies, need all kinds of things to relieve their suffering, and we are united in our determination to bring that about.
At the moment, we are particularly concerned about the humanitarian situation in Jenin, and we continue to work with all concerned on an urgent basis to meet the pressing needs in that city, as well as throughout the West Bank and Gaza. We welcome the commitment of the international community at Oslo last week on April 25th to provide over $1 billion in assistance. The United States has over $300 million dedicated to aid the Palestinian people.
In this regard, the Quartet underscores the need for immediate action by Israel to lift closures and facilitate the access that I touched on earlier, as well as maximum efforts by the Palestinian Authority to ensure that the situation on the ground remains calm and no new vulnerabilities are opened up by opening up access. It was agreed that the Quartet will follow up at the working level to address the rebuilding of Palestinian institutions.
And third, we committed to ourselves to the promotion of serious and accelerated negotiations toward a settlement. We discussed how best to begin to prepare for an international conference meeting this summer. The United States, with our partners in the Quartet, will spend the weeks ahead to begin to not only talk amongst ourselves, but with the parties and with other interested members of the international community, to come up with a set of principles that can be the basis for a meeting in the early summer. Details with respect to where and when and who the conveners would be remain to be determined. But this is a time for prompt action to take advantage of this new window of opportunity that has been presented to us, and we intend to do just that.
President Bush has said that conflict in the Middle East is not inevitable; neither is peace. The United States will do its part, and I'm pleased that our fellow members in the Quartet have made that same commitment. The Israelis, the Palestinians, our Arab friends, and the international community must also rise to the challenges ahead.
Speaking of our Arab friends in the region, I must say that we are very pleased with the new attitude shown by the Arab League, by their adoption of the Crown Prince's initiative, but more importantly by their willingness to play a more, I should say, effective role and a more aggressive role in representing the interests not only of the Arab world but the interests of the Palestinian people, and we look forward to working with them.