|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Statement by Middle East Quartet
Following is the text of the statement issued today in New York by the Quartet ( United Nations, Russian Federation, United States and European Union):
The Quartet -- United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, United States Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, United States Special Envoy for Middle East Peace George Mitchell, High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy of the European Union Javier Solana, European Commissioner for External Relations Benita Ferrero-Waldner and Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt -- met in New York on 24 September 2009. They were joined by Quartet Representative Tony Blair.
Recalling the fundamental principles laid down in its statement in Trieste on 26 June 2009, the Quartet welcomes the recent meetings between United States President Barack Obama, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas as significant steps towards the re-launching of direct, bilateral negotiations as part of a comprehensive resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict, on the basis of United Nations Security Council resolutions 242, 338, 1397, 1515, 1850, and the Madrid principles. The Quartet reiterates that the only viable solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is an agreement that ends the occupation that began in 1967; resolves all permanent status issues as previously defined by the parties; and fulfils the aspirations of both parties for independent homelands through two States for two peoples, Israel and an independent, contiguous and viable State of Palestine, living side by side in peace and security. The Quartet reaffirms that Arab-Israeli peace and the establishment of a peaceful State of Palestine in the West Bank and Gaza, on this basis, is in the fundamental interests of the parties, of all States in the region and of the international community.
The Quartet shares the sense of urgency expressed by President Obama and fully supports the steps ahead as outlined in his statement to the United Nations General Assembly on 23 September. The Quartet calls on Israel and the Palestinians to act on their previous agreements and obligations -- in particular adherence to the Road Map, irrespective of reciprocity -- to create the conditions for the resumption of negotiations in the near term. The Quartet urges the Government of Israel to freeze all settlement activity, including natural growth, and to refrain from provocative actions in East Jerusalem, and calls on the Palestinian Authority to continue to make every effort to improve law and order, to fight violent extremism and to end incitement.
Recalling that transformative change on the ground is integral to peace, the Quartet welcomes the Palestinian Authority's plan for constructing the institutions of the Palestinian State within 24 months as a demonstration of the Palestinian Authority’s serious commitment to an independent State that provides opportunity, justice and security for the Palestinian people and is a responsible neighbour to all States in the region. The Quartet notes significantly improved economic growth in the West Bank and welcomes initial ministerial contact between the Palestinian Authority and Israel on economic issues. The Quartet welcomes further steps by Israel to promote change on the ground and encourages it to redouble those efforts, in particular concerning free movement of people and goods. The Quartet calls on all States in the region and in the wider international community to match this commitment by contributing immediate, sustained, concrete and coordinated support for the Palestinian nation-building effort. It further welcomes the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee’s commitment to coordinating assistance for Palestinian economic and institutional development in support of the successful conclusion of negotiations towards the two-State solution.
The Quartet stresses the urgency of a durable resolution to the Gaza crisis and calls for a solution that addresses Israel’s legitimate security concerns, including an end to weapons smuggling into Gaza; promotes the reunification of Gaza and the West Bank under the legitimate Palestinian Authority; and facilitates the opening of the crossings to allow for the unimpeded flow of humanitarian aid, commercial goods and persons to and from Gaza, consistent with United Nations Security Council resolution 1860 (2009). The Quartet reaffirms its support for the proposed United Nations-led civilian reconstruction activities in Gaza. The Quartet reiterates its call for the immediate release of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.
Recognizing the significance of the Arab Peace Initiative, the Quartet urges regional Governments to support the resumption of bilateral negotiations, enter into a structured regional dialogue on issues of common concern and take steps towards normalization of relations across the region in the context of progress towards peace. In this regard, the Quartet commits to remain actively involved on all tracks and supports, in consultation with the parties, an international conference in Moscow in 2009. The Quartet tasks the envoys to continue to meet regularly and to formulate recommendations for Quartet action.
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