Letter dated 31 May 2005 from the Permanent Representative of Bahrain to the United Nations addressed to the Secretary-General
I take pleasure in enclosing the Joint Communiqué of the fifteenth session of the Ministerial Meeting between the Gulf Cooperation Council States and the European Union, which was held in Manama, Kingdom of Bahrain, on 5 April 2005 (see annex).
I would appreciate it if you would have the present letter and its annex circulated as a document of the General Assembly, under agenda items 36, 37, 62 and 148, and of the Security Council.
(Signed) Tawfeeq Ahmed Almansoor
Annex to the letter dated 31 May 2005 from the Permanent Representative of Bahrain to the United Nations addressed to the Secretary-General
Joint Communiqué of the fifteenth session of the Joint Council and Ministerial Meeting between the Gulf Cooperation Council States and the European Union held in Manama, Bahrain, on 5 April 2005
6.1 Regional issues
6.1.1. Developments in the Middle East
The GCC and the Eu welcomed recent developments regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in particular the commitment made by both parties at the Sharm El Sheikh Summit on 8 February 2005 to stop all acts of violence, including all acts of terrorism, and to cease all military activity in parallel. The GCC and the EU called on all parties concerned to respect this agreement and asked the regional players and the international community to give their full support. The strongly encouraged Israelis and Palestinians to rapidly implement the Sharm el Sheikh commitments and to continue on the path of dialogue and political negotiation.
2005 started with the successful holding of Palestinian presidential elections on 9 January which – accompanied by ongoing municipal elections – will be followed by legislative elections in July this year. The London Meeting on Supporting the Palestinian Authority of 1 March 2005 and its conclusions were welcomed by the GCC and the EU. Both sides confirmed their intention to continue their financial support to the Palestinian Authority with clear objectives and conditions, which is essential to support needed reforms and to help the Palestinian Authority prepare to assume control over areas from which Israel intends to withdraw.
The GCC and the EU welcomed the prospect of Israel's withdrawal from Gaza and from certain parts of the northern West Bank as an initial stage in the process towards achieving a just, lasting and comprehensive peace in the Middle East. They reiterated their previously expressed view that a withdrawal could represent a step towards the implementation of the Road Map provided that it takes place in the context of the Road Map, that it is a step towards a two-state solution, that it does not involve a transfer of settlement activity to the West Bank, that there is an organized and negotiated handover of responsibility to the Palestinian Authority, and that Israel facilitates rehabilitation and reconstruction in Gaza. The proposed withdrawal should be properly orchestrated with the international community, including through the next meeting of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee (AHLC), so as to permit the maintenance of security as well as rehabilitation and reconstruction in Gaza.
The GCC and the EU welcome the steps taken by the Palestinian Authority to address the issue of security and called on it to continue its efforts in this regard. Both sides also called on the Israeli Government to take further action to alleviate the suffering of Palestinians by lifting prohibitions on movement, reversing its settlement policy and reversing the construction of the so-called security fence in the Palestinian territory, including in and around East Jerusalem.
With regard to the latter, both sides acknowledged the Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice of last 9 July.
The GCC and the EU reaffirmed their commitment that all efforts as described above have to lead to a negotiated two-state solution agreed between the parties which would result in a viable, contiguous, sovereign, democratic and independent Palestinian State living side by side in peace with Israel, within recognized and secure borders. They also reaffirmed their belief that the Quartet Road Map, endorsed by UNSCR 1515, represented the route to achieving such an outcome, and called on both sides to fulfil their obligations under the Road Map. They noted with appreciation the statement issued by the Quartet after its meeting in London on 1 March 2005.
The GCC and the EU confirmed their shared position that they would not recognise any change to the pre-1967 borders other than those arrived at by agreement between the parties and that no declared views on the possible shape of a final settlement could pre-empt the negotiation of that settlement. They also noted that the refugee question and the manner in which the right of return may be realized remained also a Final Status issue and that the Road Map stated that a final and comprehensive permanent status agreement that ended the Israeli-Palestinian conflict must include an agreed, just, fair and realistic solution to this question
They agreed that Final Status issues were a matter for negotiation between the two parties themselves and must not be prejudged. They furthermore concurred that secure and recognized borders should emerge from negotiations between the parties in accordance with UN Security Council Resolutions 242, 338, 1397 and 1515. These and other relevant Security Council Resolutions must form the basis for a just and lasting settlement of the conflict.
The GCC and the EU stated that a just, lasting and comprehensive peace must meet the legitimate aspirations of both the Israeli and Palestinian people and must include Lebanon and Syria. They also called on all States in the region to exert every effort to promote peace and to combat terrorism in all its form.
The GCC and the EU recalled and reiterated their support for the constructive initiative of His Highness Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, endorsed by the Arab League Summit in Beirut in 2002. They welcomed the fact that this initiative was clearly reaffirmed at the Arab League Summit which took place in Algiers on 22-23 March 2005.
The GCC and the EU reiterated their strong and unequivocal condemnation of the horrendous bombing that took place on 14 February in Beirut, killing former President of the Council of Ministers Rafiq Hariri as well as other innocent civilians.
They extended their heartfelt sympathy to the family of Rafiq Hariri as well as to the families of the other victims and the wounded. Rafiq Hariri shall be remembered for his efforts to rebuild Lebanon as well as for his commitment to the independence and sovereignty of the country.
The GCC and the EU took stock of the UN inquiry and supported the establishing of an independent international investigation Commission with the necessary executive authority.
They both reaffirmed their support for a sovereign, independent and democratic Lebanon and underlined the importance of holding free and fair elections without foreign interference or influence. The Joint Council welcomed the decision made by Syria to withdraw from Lebanon before the end of April, in the framework of the implementation of UNSCR 1559 and the Taif Accord.
6.1.2 Developments in relation to the EU Strategic Partnership with the Mediterranean and the Middle East
The EU and the GCC took the opportunity to review developments in relation to the "EU Strategic Partnership with the Mediterranean and the Middle East", which was adopted by the European Council in June 2004. The EU gave an overview of this Partnership and presented an analysis of the EU's current engagement with the countries concerned and suggested core elements for this partnership. The EU and the GCC welcomed the importance attached to
consultation with the regional partners in the current period. They looked forward to further contact in the period ahead and also looked forward to exploring the potential which is offered by the Strategic Partnership for strengthening relations between the European Union and GCC.
The GCC and the EU expressed deep concern about the ongoing proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, nuclear, biological and chemical, and their means of delivery, considering it to be one of the most serious threats to peace, security and development. They reaffirmed their determination to support all efforts to stem the proliferation of WMD and their means of delivery, by both State and non-State actors, and in that context welcomed the adoption of
UN Security Council Resolution 1540. They also welcomed the activities undertaken in the context of the Proliferation Security Initiative and called upon all states that have not yet done so to subscribe to the ‘PSI Interdiction Principles’. Furthermore, they recalled the objective to establish an effectively verifiable zone free of weapons of mass destruction and of their means of delivery, in the Middle East including the Gulf Region
In this context, they underlined the importance of compliance with and implementation of existing disarmament and non-proliferation treaties and agreements and other relevant international obligations. Both sides attached importance to the universalization of international instruments against the proliferation of WMD and their means of delivery through signature, accession or ratification, as appropriate, of all relevant instruments. In this respect, they called upon all countries not yet party to relevant treaties, including the Non-Proliferation Treaty, the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty and the Conventions on
biological and chemical weapons, to sign and ratify them as soon as possible. Furthermore they encouraged all states in the Middle East that have not yet done so to subscribe to the Hague Code of Conduct against ballistic missile proliferation and to conclude and bring into force Additional protocols with the IAEA.
The GCC and the EU also called on all countries in the Middle East to establish effective systems of national export and transit controls of WMD-related goods and technologies, including end-use controls.