Sommaire: March 30, 2002: Statement by H.E. Mr. Inocencio F. Arias at the Security Council on the Middle East (New York)
I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union. The countries of Central and Eastern Europe associated with the European Union, Bulgaria and Romania, align themselves with this statement.
The European Union is extremely concerned at the grave crisis in the Middle East. In light of the events which are taking place in the Palestinian territories, the European Union has issued today a declaration condemning in the most categorical terms the terrorist attack perpetrated this morning in Jerusalem, reiterating its demand to the Palestinian Authority and to its Chairman, Mr. Arafat, that they adopt all the possible measures to stop the spiral of violence and to avoid that initiators and perpetrators of the attacks of recent days remain unpunished.
The European Union has also condemned in the strongest terms the brutal terrorist attack in Netanya last Wednesday. However, the legitimate fight of Israel against terrorism and the reaction to the brutal attacks also have to be compatible with an effective capacity to operate of the Palestinian Authority and of its Chairman, legitimate representatives of the Palestinian people.
Therefore, the European Union urges an end to the attack against the Headquarters of the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah and calls for the immediate withdrawal of the Israeli defence forces from that city.
The European Union reiterates the need for an immediate application of a ceasefire taking only into account the conditions already envisaged in the Tenet Plan and those expressed by the United States Special Envoy, Mr. Zinni, which should be the basis of an agreement without delay between the parties.
The resolution of the Arab League meeting in Beirut is a solid basis for progress towards a political perspective for a fair and global peace in the region, and the establishment of normal relations between Israel and the Arab world, safeguarding the security of all countries involved and offering them a future of stability and prosperity.
In the Declaration of Barcelona of 16 march, the EU reiterated its call on both sides to take immediate and effective action to stop the bloodshed. There is no military solution to this conflict. Peace and security can only be achieved through negotiations. To find a way out of the present situation it is essential to address the security, political and economic aspects as inseparable and interdependent elements of a single process.
A sound political perspective needs to be restored and political and security measures implemented in parallel and in a mutually reinforcing way. In this regard, the EU warmly welcomes the adoption of the UNSC Resolution 1397, which reflects the strong commitment of the international community. This resolution must be urgently implemented, in particular the demand for an immediate cessation of violence, including acts of terror, provocation, incitement and destruction; and the call for the Israeli and Palestinian sides and their leaders to cooperate in the implementation of the Tenet Work Plan and the Mitchell Report recommendations with the aim of resuming negotiations on a political settlement.
The indiscriminate terrorist attacks today and over the past days and weeks killing and injuring innocent civilians must be condemned. As the legitimate authority, the PA bears the full responsibility for fighting terrorism with all the legitimate means at its disposal. It must do everything possible to put an end to terrorism, dismantle all terrorist networks, including Hamas and the Islamic Jihad, and arrest and prosecute the perpetrators of terrorist acts. Its capacity to do so must not be weakened.
Israel, notwithstanding its right to fight terrorism, must immediately withdraw its military forces from areas placed under the control of the PA, stop extra-judicial executions, lift the closures and restrictions, freeze settlements and respect international law. Both parties must respect international humanitarian standards. The use of excessive force cannot be justified. The actions against medical and humanitarian institutions and personnel are absolutely unacceptable. They must be able to fully perform their functions.
SC Resolution 1397 also affirms a vision of a region where two states, Israel and Palestine, live side by side within secure and recognized borders. The EU fully shares this vision and this two-fold objective: the creation of a democratic, viable and independent state of Palestine, bringing to an end the occupation of 1967, and the right of Israel to live within safe and secure boundaries, guaranteed by the commitment of the international community, and in particular the Arab countries.
The EU is determined to play its role together with the parties, the countries in the region, the U.S., the UN and Russia in the pursuit of a just, lasting and comprehensive solution to the conflict. A solution based on UNSC 242, 338 and 1397 and on the principles of the Madrid Conference, Oslo and subsequent agreements.
We remain particularly convinced that a third party monitoring mechanism would help both parties to pursue their efforts to that end and we urge them to consider proposals to accept observers. The EU and the member states are prepared to participate in such a mechanism.
The European Union recognizes and praises those who continue to work tirelessly for peace within the peace camps of Israeli and Palestinian society and supports the direct contacts and dialogue that both parties are conducting.
Following on its present effort, the European Union will make a full and substantial economic contribution to peace-building in the region, with the aim of improving the living conditions of the Palestinian people, of consolidating and supporting the PA, of strengthening the economic basis of the future State of Palestine and of promoting development and regional economic integration. In this perspective, the EU stands ready to contribute to the reconstruction of the Palestinian economy as an integral part of regional development.
The EU remains convinced that, in order to be durable, peace in the Middle East must be comprehensive.