UN: EU statement on the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People

New York, 29 November 2006

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 Liechtenstein and Norway, members of the European Economic Area, as well as Ukraine align themselves with this declaration.

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

On the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian people, the European Union would like to reaffirm its commitment to the two-State solution, as laid out in the Roadmap and agreed between the parties resulting in a viable, contiguous, sovereign and independent Palestinian state existing side by side with Israel in peace and security.

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 underlines the necessity of a political perspective and reinvigorating the peace-process through a re-launch of negotiations. To support the objective of a future, independent, democratic and viable Palestinian state based on the rule of law, the EU underlines the importance of preserving and strengthening the capacity of the institutions of the Palestinian Authority. We recall the established EU position that the Union will not recognise any change to the pre-1967 borders other than those agreed by both parties.

The European Union expresses its support to President Abbas and calls on the Palestinians to join his efforts towards national unity and the formation 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 the re-launch of the peace process.

The European Union recalls the utmost importance of the full implementation of the Agreement of Movement and Access, and calls on Israel to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian assistance, in particular in Gaza. The permanent reopening of Rafah, which has to be followed by the opening of Karni and other crossings, has a particular priority in this respect. It is imperative that the humanitarian conditions of the Palestinian people are urgently alleviated.

The European Union welcomes the Palestinian truce initiative and its acceptance by Israel that came into effect on 26 November 2006 and urges both parties to maintain this truce, which could pave the way for genuine negotiations towards a just resolution to the conflict.

The European Union reiterates once more its continuing support to advance the Peace Process. Let us all work hard to help the Palestinian people realize their aspiration to live in peace and prosperity in a sovereign and independent State of Palestine.