Brussels, 19 November 2001
Statement of Romano Prodi, President of the European Commission, and Guy Verhofstadt, President of the European Union, on the Middle East Peace Process
On behalf of the European Union we would like to salute and welcome the vision and commitment of the President of the United States George W. Bush in his search for peace in the Middle East as outlined by himself in New York before the U.N. General Assembly and expressed today in Kentucky by Secretary of State Colin Powell.
We underline the fact that the European Union and the United States are adopting a common approach to the Middle East Peace Process. We are striving for a final settlement based upon the absolute security of the State of Israel and a democratic and economically viable State of Palestine.
Europeans and Americans also share the view that it is high time to put an end to violence and resume political negotiations towards a final settlement for this historical conflict.
We believe that Peace in the Middle East will not be comprehensive without Lebanon and Syria. Negotiations on these tracks should resume with the aim of reaching an agreement according to UN resolutions 242 and 338.
Our objective is double-fold : the creation of the democratic, viable, independent State of Palestine and the commitment by the international community, including the Arab countries, to actively guarantee the security of Israel, which will be accepted as an equal partner in the region.
There is no need for new initiatives. The Parties should commit themselves to implement all signed agreements and build on the ideas and progress achieved in the previous talks and negotiations in all tracks.
In this respect, we call on Israelis and Palestinians to fully implement the Mitchell report and the Tenet understanding, in particular a cessation of violence and an immediate freeze of settlement activities.
Now that the international community stands united against terrorism, we feel that there is a sense of urgency to re-launch the peace-process in the Middle East. Ten years after the Madrid Peace Conference, it is time to achieve these goals.
The European Union is committed to continuing its efforts, together with the United States, with a view to bringing all the Parties around the table and facilitate the re-launch of negotiations.