Summary of remarks to the press
by Javier SOLANA,
EU High Representative for the CFSP,
at a joint press briefing with
Mahmound ABBAS, President of the Palestinian Authority
Ramallah, 19 January 2007
The following is an edited summary of remarks to the press by Mr Javier SOLANA, EU High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP), following his meeting in Ramallah with Mahmoud ABBAS, President of the Palestinian Authority.
Mr SOLANA met President ABBAS during a tour of the Middle-East that included stops in Egypt, Israel, the Palestinian Territories and Jordan. He also met senior Palestinian officials and members of the Palestinian business community in Ramallah and the next day he toured Arab towns to the east of Jerusalem in the West Bank.
"Thank you very much, Mr President. It is a great pleasure to be here again. I have come here to see the President and to present to him the wish and the plan of the European Union to revitalize the peace process. It will not be easy but I believe that there is a real opportunity.
Things look better than they did when I last came here at the beginning of December. President ABBAS and Prime Minister OLMERT have met. The transfer of a large sum of the Palestinianowned tax revenue is an important decision. I welcome this good news, and I am sure it will help the Palestinians.
More steps have to follow to make life better again for the Palestinians. Moreover, a political process has to be opened. It is fundamental to define parameters for ending the occupation that began in 1967. There is a real opportunity. Owing to his position as Chairman of the PLO, President ABBAS is in charge of the talks that are going to be held.
The meeting of the Quartet that we are going to have on 2 February in Washington will be instrumental in defining the framework for a political process. But, also, all efforts have to be intensified to make living conditions better again for the Palestinians.
All the numerous meetings that President ABBAS holds follow this goal – the benefit of the Palestinian people. We are calling for unity among Palestinians. We welcome the efforts of the Palestinian President to form a national unity government that we can re-engage with. It is important to uphold the principles President ABBAS has set out for the formation of such a government. President ABBAS has always defended the same, clear position, which is supported by the international community. The unity of the Palestinians is very important. Violence between the factions should not be allowed to occur.
Mr President, I would like to underline again that you can always count on the European Union in your endeavours."
After his meeting with President Abbas at the Moqata, Mr Solana had a series of talks in Ramallah with senior officials, including PLC Members Mohamed Dahlan, Mustapha Barghouti and Hanan Ashrawi. He then had dinner with members of the Palestinian business community.
The following morning, Mr Solana made a tour, accompanied by the representative of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), of East Jerusalem and its environs, including Al Ram, Qalandiya, the Mount of Olives Augusta Victoria and Abu Dis, and saw the Separation Barrier, the West Bank closures and the Israeli settlements. Later that day, Mr Solana commented to journalists that he was disturbed by the extension of the wall and of the settlements.
"I had the opportunity to make a tour along the eastern part of Jerusalem and to go to Abu Dis and its surroundings. You get really very shocked every time you go and you see the situation worse, the wall is more extended and settlements are more extended."