"As is" reference - not a United Nations document
on the peace process in the Middle East
1. The Assembly welcomes with great satisfaction the agreement between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), signed in Washington on 13 September 1993, which includes a declaration of principles on Palestinian autonomy in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
2. It pays tribute to the courage of the Israeli Government and the PLO leadership which decided on mutual recognition and were able to overcome numerous obstacles in order to bring new momentum to the peace process initiated in Madrid in October 1991. The Assembly admires the role the Norwegian authorities played in promoting the direct negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians, and in hosting their delegations.
3. The aforementioned agreement is a major step towards a just and durable peace in the Middle East which is of vital importance also to all Council of Europe member states, since Europe's political stability depends on that of neighbouring regions.
4. The Assembly fully supports the current peace process as a means of resolving the Israeli-Arab conflict, on the basis of United Nations Security Council Resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973).
5. Middle East leaders have expressed the wish for greater European involvement in the region. Until now, Council of Europe member states and the European Community have been the main suppliers of humanitarian aid to the West Bank and Gaza Strip. In future, European states should play a more active political role and not limit themselves to providing economic assistance, although this assistance remains essential because the closure of the West Bank and Gaza Strip has exacerbated existing socio-economic problems, increased unemployment and led to millions of dollars of losses in agriculture, industry, transport and commerce.
6. The Assembly recalls that control of water resources in the Middle East is a central issue in the ongoing peace process. Water management policies in the region must take into account the interests of all those concerned.
7. The Assembly believes that the Council of Europe must contribute actively to building a climate of confidence between the parties in order to demonstrate Europe's full commitment to bring the peace process to a successful end.
8. Israel, whose parliament enjoys observer status with the Assembly, has declared that it wishes to participate in certain intergovernmental activities of the Council of Europe.
9. The Secretary General of the League of Arab States has expressed his readiness also to consider ways of establishing co-operation between his organisation and the Council of Europe.
10. The Assembly therefore recommends that the Committee of Ministers:
ii. establish contacts with the League of Arab States to identify fields of co-operation between this organisation and the Council of Europe;
iii. urge the governments of member states and the Commission of the European Communities:
· to support economic development programmes in the Middle East, mainly in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and promote trade arrangements with local enterprises;
· to respond positively, as long as the problem of Palestinian refugees is not solved, to the appeals of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and other international governmental and non-governmental organisations, for funding refugee assistance programmes in the Middle East.