Sommaire: EUHR Solana remarks on agreement on Rafah (15 November 2005: Brussels)
Summary of remarks by Javier SOLANA, EU High Representative for the CFSP on the agreement on Rafah
In comments made today in Jerusalem at a joint press conference with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Quartet Special Envoy Jim Wolfensohn, Javier Solana, EU High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy welcomed the agreement reached earlier in the day between the parties on movement and access to and from Gaza, including the agreed principles for Rafah crossing, and stressed the EU's future role in the framework of that agreement.
"I think this is a very, very important agreement. It has taken a long time to finalise but it will give the Gaza disengagement its full content in particular because the border between the Gaza and Egypt will now be opened.
And as you know from the document that you are going to read in a moment, the European Union will assume the "third-party role" on that very important and complicated border. We are ready.
We have the plans ready and prepared and by the end of the month we will be in a position to take full responsibility and have the border function.
It's not an easy task, but I'm sure it will be successful and it will contribute for the first time to the Palestinians having a border that is open and controlled by them with a third party present so that they can go to Egypt and the outside world.
As you know, the Philadelphia Road will be controlled by the Egyptians but at the border crossing the European Union will act as third party. We assume that responsibility as a very important contribution to the finalisation of the Gaza disengagement.
I want to say that Jim Wolfensohn, the Quartet envoy for the disengagement, has played a fundamental role, and I want to thank him very, very warmly, as much as I want to say thank you to Condoleezza Rice for the long hours that we have had to put in over the past few days.
This is the first time that a border is opened and given to the Palestinians to control themselves with the help of a third party. This is a very important step.
We will be about 50 - 70 people, policemen, border experts, from different countries. They will be headed by a general from the Italian Carabinieri, who will be appointed shortly."
For additional information, see the complete Press Release