"As is" reference - not a United Nations document
The President of the Council of the European Union and Luxembourg Minister for Foreign Affairs, Jean Asselborn, will visit the Middle East on 19 and 20 January 2005.
In preparation for his visit, which will take him to Israel and the Palestinian Territories, Jean Asselborn held telephone conversations with his Palestinian and Israeli counterparts, Nabil Shaath and Silvan Shalom, on 6 January 2005.
During the conversations, he again underlined the importance the EU attaches to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
The President of the Council was optimistic that the Palestinian elections due to be held on 9 January would run smoothly. "The motivation and commitment of the Palestinian people during the run-up to the presidential election are encouraging. I am confident that contacts between Palestinians and Israelis prior to the elections will help both sides move closer to a peace settlement", he said.
Referring to the conclusions of the most recent European Council on the Middle East on 16 and 17 December 2004, Jean Asselborn stated that "the European Union will honour its financial, technical and political commitment in the Palestinian Territories, even after the presidential elections."
The minister reassured those present that the European Union remained committed to the "roadmap" and regarded a political commitment on the part of the Quartet as imperative.