UN: EU statement on question of Palestine

UNGA 61st Session; Agenda Item 14: Question of Palestine

Statement by H.E. Mr. Tom Grönberg, Ambassador, Permanent Mission of Finland to the UN, on behalf of the EU

New York, 29 November 2006

Madam President,

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union.

The Acceding Countries Bulgaria and Romania, the Candidate Countries Turkey, Croatia* and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia, and the EFTA countries Iceland and Liechtenstein, members of the European Economic Area, as well as Ukraine and Moldova align themselves with this declaration.

* Croatia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.

Madam President,

The European Union welcomes the agreement between President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, to establish a mutual ceasefire in Gaza. It is a promising first step in a path towards a sustainable peace. We call upon both parties to adhere strictly to their commitments, and avoid hasty actions which could jeopardize progress towards a sustained period of calm.The European Union encourages both parties to endeavour to extend the ceasefire to the West Bank.

The European Union urges the Palestinians to work towards national unity and to form a government with a platform reflecting the Quartet principles and allowing for early engagement. Such a government of national unity would also be a partner for the international community to support in the re-launching of the Peace Process. 

The European Union expresses serious concern about the deterioration of the humanitarian, economic and financial situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. We emphasise the importance of the implementation by both parties of the Agreement of Movement and Access of November 2005. We call on Israel to also respect previous agreements and to fulfil its obligations under them. We insist on the particular importance of regular operations at Gaza crossings, notably Rafah, and call on Israel to do its utmost to ensure that the crossings be opened and remain open. We also repeat our call on Israel for the immediate resumption of transfers of withheld Palestinian tax and customs revenues.

Madam President,

The European Union reiterates its intention to actively contribute to the work of the Quartet to get the Middle East Peace Process urgently back on track in order to make progress towards a comprehensive settlement on the basis of the Roadmap, relevant UNSC resolutions and the commitments made at Sharm-el-Sheikh in 2005. This should be done in close cooperation with Arab partners. The international community must provide its full support to the parties in this respect.

The European Union reaffirms that it will not recognise any change to the pre-1967 borders other than those agreed by both parties. We recall the urgent need to make progress toward a comprehensive settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict. The European Union remains committed to the two-State solution as laid out in the Roadmap and agreed between the parties, which would result in a viable, contiguous, sovereign and independent Palestinian State existing side by side in peace with Israel living within recognised and secure borders.

Thank you, Madam President.