Letter dated 16 July 1996 from the Chargé d'affaires a.i.
of the Permanent Mission of Oman to the United Nations
addressed to the Secretary-General
I have the honour to transmit herewith the text of the final communiqué issued by the Ministers for Foreign Affairs of the Damascus Declaration States at the conclusion of their thirteenth meeting, held at Muscat on 13 and 14 July 1996 under the chairmanship of Mr. Yousef Bin Alawi Bin Abdullah, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs of the Sultanate of Oman.
I should be grateful if you would have the present letter and its annex circulated as a document of the General Assembly, under items 30, 33, 35, 53, 67 and 154 of the preliminary list, and of the Security Council.
(Signed) Mohammed A. AL-SAMEEN
Chargé d'affaires a.i.
Final communiqué of the thirteenth meeting of the Ministers
for Foreign Affairs of the Damascus Declaration States,
issued at Muscat on 14 July 1996
At the invitation of the Sultanate of Oman, the Ministers for Foreign Affairs of the Damascus Declaration States held their thirteenth meeting at Muscat on 13 and 14 July 1996 under the chairmanship of His Excellency Mr. Yousef Bin Alawi Bin Abdullah, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs of the Sultanate of Oman. The following were in attendance:
His Excellency Sheikh Jamil Bin Ibrahim al-Hegelan, Secretary-General of the Gulf Cooperation Council, also participated in the meeting.
The Minsters met while bearing in mind the role played by the Damascus Declaration States in promoting Arab solidarity, advancing the interests of the Arab nation and safeguarding joint Arab security and in response to the requirements of the upcoming stage, which will be of great importance and moment as it relates, in particular, to the peace process in the Middle East in the light of regional and international developments.
The Ministers affirmed their full commitment to upholding and acting in accordance with the substance of the final communiqué adopted by the Arab Summit Conference held in Cairo from 21 to 23 June 1996 and the firm positions of principle adopted by the consensus of the Arab leaders with a view to strengthening Arab solidarity and establishing a just peace in response to the hopes and aspirations of the Arab nation, so as to advance the interests and restore the impugned rights of that nation and in order to monitor the formulation of effective Arab action for the next stage.
The Ministers stressed the firm positions of principle of their countries with respect to the requirements of the peace process and the need to adhere to the principles on which it has been based since the Madrid Conference. This requires: complete Israeli withdrawal from the Golan to the line of 4 June 1967; complete and unconditional Israeli withdrawal from southern Lebanon and the western Bekaa to the internationally recognized boundaries; the complete withdrawal of Israel from all occupied Palestinian territories, including Arab Jerusalem; and recognition of the legitimate national rights of the Palestinian people, including its right to exercise self-determination and establish an independent State on its own soil.
The Ministers commended the broad international consensus in support of the Arab position on the peace process, as embodied in the statements adopted by the Florence Summit of the European Union, the Lyon Summit of the group of seven industrialized countries and the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the Organization of African Unity held in Cameroon, as well as in the statements adopted earlier by the Casablanca Islamic Summit Conference and the Cartagena Conference of Heads of State or Government of the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries. In this context, the Ministers affirmed that the continuation of the peace process and the resumption of negotiations require commitment to the principles and norms on which the peace process is based, particularly Security Council resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973) and 425 (1978), the principle of land for peace and the assurances given to the parties.
The Ministers expressed deep concern at the statements made by the Israeli Prime Minister during his recent visit to the United States, particularly those relating to his insistence on perpetuating Israel's occupation of Arab territories and on retaining Jerusalem under Israeli sovereignty as the capital of Israel on the pretext of safeguarding Israel's security. This is an attempt to impose a fait accompli that undermines the viability of the negotiations and is a departure from the principle of land for peace and a violation of the enduring principle on which the peace process is based, namely the achievement of balanced and equal security for all the States of the region without discrimination or exception and not merely for Israel alone. The same is true of his statements calling for a resumption of peace negotiations without preconditions, which is a denial and evasion of commitment to the principles derived from the relevant United Nations resolutions on which the peace process is based. Likewise, his call for reciprocity, when measured against the positions he has taken rejecting the principles and foundations of the peacemaking process, is an invitation for the region to return to a climate of confrontation and tension. The Ministers expressed surprise and astonishment that the Israeli Prime Minister should speak of democracy and human rights while Israel is pursuing a policy of occupation and of violating rights that are guaranteed by the Geneva Conventions to Arab citizens languishing under Israeli occupation and while it is being evasive and dilatory in discharging the obligations that it took upon itself within the framework of the peace process. In this context, the Ministers reaffirmed the conclusion of the Arab Summit Conference to the effect that the insistence of the Israeli Government on such positions is likely to cause a collapse of the peace process bringing with it such dangers and consequences as will once more plunge the region into a maelstrom of tension and force all the Arab States to reconsider the steps taken vis-à-vis Israel in the framework of that process. The Israeli Government alone would bear the entire responsibility for such a situation.
The Ministers further reaffirm their commitment to the United Nations resolutions requiring the non-recognition and non-acceptance of any situation resulting from Israeli settlement activities in the occupied territories, inasmuch as such activities create no rights and no obligations. They consider that the establishment of settlements and the introduction of settlers violate the Geneva Conventions and the Madrid framework and represent an impediment to the peace process.
Recalling the assurances recently given by the United States of America, as one of the co-sponsors of the peace process, that that process must be based on the foundations established at the time it began at the Madrid Conference and on the principle of land for peace, that the Israeli Government must comply with all the undertakings given and all the obligations assumed, and that security cannot be attained without the achievement of peace, the Ministers call upon the co-sponsors of the peace process, the United States of America and the Russian Federation, on the European Union, China, Japan, the States members of the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries and other concerned States and on the United Nations and other international institutions to give practical effect to these assurances and to ensure that Israel does not violate the principles on which the peace process is based, supported as they are by United Nations resolutions, including Security Council resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973) and 425 (1978), or the principle of land for peace, or the assurances provided to the parties, and that it fulfils all the commitments made in the framework of the peace process.
The Ministers reaffirmed the support of their countries for Syria's legitimate desiderata for the achievement of a just and comprehensive peace in the Middle East based on international legitimacy. They further expressed their support for Syria in overcoming the obstacles to the peace process being raised by Israel and in addressing the calumnies with which it is charging Syria for the purpose of halting the peace process.
The Ministers affirmed their support for the League of Arab States, for the enhancement of its standing and for the assignment to it of a more active role. There is a need for compliance with the Pact of the League and with the resolutions adopted by it in order to safeguard the higher interests of the Arab nation.
The Ministers expressed their gratitude and appreciation to the Sultanate of Oman, to the Omani Government under the leadership of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said and to the Omani people for the hospitality with which they had been received, and they wished the country further progress and prosperity.
The Ministers look forward to holding their next meeting in Egypt in January 1997.
Document Type: Communiqué
Document Sources: Damascus Declaration States, General Assembly, Security Council
Subject: Agenda Item, Middle East situation, Occupation, Palestine question, Peace process, Situation in Lebanon
Publication Date: 14/07/1996