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European Union (EU)
7 November 2005
THE EUROPEAN UNION
13622/05 (Presse 274)
2687th Council Meeting
General Affairs and External Relations
Brussels, 7 November 2005
Mr Jack Straw
Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs of
the United Kingdom
*Some external relations items were adopted without debate at the meeting on General Affairs (13621/05 Presse 273).
Main results of the Council
, the Council:
- decided to launch a
police mission in the Palestinian territories
under the European Security and Defence Policy . The mission, which will have a long-term reform focus , will provide enhanced support to the Palestinian Authority in establishing sustainable and effective policing arrangements;
- noted the EU's willingness in principle to provide assistance with the operation of
crossing at Gaza's borders
on the basis of an agreement between the parties. This followed a request by Quartet envoy James Wolfensohn on behalf of the parties that the EU consider playing a third party monitoring role at the
crossing point on the Gaza-Egypt border.
MIDDLE EAST PEACE PROCESS -
The Council adopted the following conclusions:
"1. The Council underlined the need to maintain forward momentum towards full implementation of the Roadmap and of the commitments made at Sharm el Sheikh. It reiterated its commitment to the goal of the coexistence of two States, by the creation of an independent, democratic, contiguous and viable Palestinian State, living side by side with Israel and its other neighbours in peace and security. It recalled that the EU will not recognise any change to the pre-1967 borders other than those arrived at by agreement between the parties.
2. The Council condemned unreservedly the recent terrorist attacks on Israel that have resulted in a number of Israeli fatalities and injuries. The Council also condemned the further violence perpetrated by Palestinian militants. While recognising Israel's right to protect its citizens against terrorist attacks, the Council called on Israel to act with restraint and to refrain from all extra-judicial killings, which are contrary to international law.
3. The Council expressed its grave concern at continued violence in Gaza and the West Bank. It underlined the need for the Palestinian Authority to take full control of law and order in the Occupied Territories. The Council also stressed the importance of the Palestinian Authority taking urgent action against Palestinian militants and to dismantle terrorist capabilities and infrastructure.
4. The Council underlined the importance of the forthcoming elections for the Palestinian Legislative Council as an essential element for progress in the peace process. The Council emphasised that violence and terror are incompatible with democratic processes and urged all factions, including Hamas, to renounce violence, recognise Israel’s right to exist, and disarm. The Council urged Israel to facilitate the preparations and conduct of the elections, including in occupied East Jerusalem.
5. The Council reiterated its support for the work of James Wolfensohn, the Quartet Special Envoy for Disengagement, and welcomed his recent report to the members of the Quartet. It urged the parties to reach rapid agreement on the issues contained in the Rapid Action Plan, including arrangements for Gaza’s borders and crossings, the Gaza seaport and airport, movement of goods and people between Gaza and the West Bank, and freedom of movement in the West Bank. The Council called on both Israel and the Palestinians to work with equal determination towards resolution of the outstanding issues. It underlined the importance of progress on these points for the growth of the Palestinian economy, including support to the private sector and in particular SMEs. The Council noted James Wolfensohn's letter of 2 November in which he requested on behalf of the parties that the EU consider playing a third party monitoring role at the Rafah crossing point on the Gaza-Egypt border. The Council noted the EU's willingness in principle to provide assistance with the operation of crossings at Gaza's borders on the basis of an agreement between the parties. It looked forward to receiving a full report from the scoping mission visiting the region, as the basis for an early decision on EU involvement and timely planning.
6. The Council urged the Israeli government to cease all activities in the Palestinian territories, including settlement building, the construction of the separation barrier as well as the demolition of Palestinian homes, which are contrary to international law and threaten to make any solution based on the co-existence of two states physically impossible. The Council was particularly concerned about the implementation of these policies in and around East Jerusalem. The Council called for the re-opening of Palestinian institutions in East Jerusalem in accordance with the Roadmap, in particular the Orient House and the Chamber of Commerce. It called on the Israeli government to cease all discriminatory treatment of Palestinians in East Jerusalem, especially concerning work permits, access to education and health services, building permits, house demolitions, taxation and expenditure.
7. The Council underlined the important role played by EU COPPS (EU Co-ordinating Office for Palestinian Police Support) and by US Security Co-ordinator General Ward in the reform and strengthening of Palestinian security and police structures. In this regard, the Council decided to launch an ESDP Police Mission in the Palestinian Territories to build on the work of EU COPPS. This mission will have a long term reform focus and will provide enhanced support to the Palestinian Authority in establishing sustainable and effective policing arrangements. The new mission, which will have a three-year mandate, will assist in the implementation of the Palestinian Civil Police Development Plan, advise and mentor senior members of the Palestinian Civil Police and criminal justice system and co-ordinate EU and, where requested, international assistance to the Palestinian Civil Police. The mission will act in close co-operation with the European Commission’s institution building as well as other international efforts in the security sector and judicial reform.
8. The Council welcomed the Commission’s detailed Communication entitled “EU-Palestinian co-operation beyond disengagement – towards a two-state solution” and the comprehensive medium term strategy and suggested priorities it sets out for EU engagement with the Palestinians. The Council welcomed the Commission’s proposal to consider ways in which EU assistance to the Palestinians could be more effective and co-ordinated and looked forward to further discussion of this issue."