DEVELOPMENTS RELATED TO THE MIDDLE EAST

PEACE PROCESS

Issue 13      –      October-December 1997

Contents

Page

I.

Remarks by Foreign Minister David Levy and the Secretary-General of the Executive Committee of the PLO, Mahmoud Abbas, on the resumption of the Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations, Jerusalem, 6 October 1997

1

II.

Text of a statement by the Council of the European Union on the Middle East peace process, Luxembourg,

6-7 October 1997

2

III.

Text of a statement by the Council of the European Union on the Middle East peace process,

Brussels, 10 November 1997

3

IV.

Text of the Agreement between Israel and Jordan on the Irbid Qualifying Industrial Zone,

Doha, Qatar, 16 November 1997

3

V.

Text of a statement by the Council of the European Union on the Middle East peace process,

Luxembourg, 13 December 1997

6

Notes

9

UNITED NATIONS

New York, January 1998

NOTE

Since April 1991, at the request of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, the Division for Palestinian Rights of the United Nations Secretariat has prepared a compilation of statements, declarations, documents and other material regarding the settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict, including the question of Palestine, and the Middle East peace process entitled "Approaches towards the settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict and the question of Palestine".

In January 1994, the bulletin was renamed "Developments related to the Middle East peace process".  It includes information material related to the bilateral Arab-Israeli peace negotiations, the multilateral negotiations on Middle East regional issues and other aspects of the Middle East peace process.

This issue covers the period from October to December 1997.

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This bulletin and its back issues can be found in the Lotus Notes-based United Nations Information System

 on the Question of Palestine (UNISPAL) at:

on the UN Web site, Question of Palestine pages, at:

*

Printed copies of this publication, and back issues, can be obtained from:

United Nations Secretariat

Division for Palestinian Rights

Room S-3362

New York, New York 10017

Tel: 212-963-5159

Fax: 212-963-4199

Remarks by Foreign Minister David Levy and the Secretary-General of the Executive Committee of the PLO, Mahmoud Abbas, on the resumption of the Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations

Jerusalem, 6 October 1997

On 6 October 1997, at a joint press conference in Jerusalem, the following opening remarks were made by the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Israel, David Levy, and the Secretary-General of the Executive Committee of the PLO, Mahmoud Abbas:

Foreign Minister David Levy

The meeting here this evening was in accordance with the agreements already reached between the sides to renew our negotiations and is an expression of the desire of both sides, the Government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority, to continue in our efforts to make progress to our mutual goal, the goal of reaching peace between us.  We are not beginning anew here.  We are continuing the significant work and the great effort that have already been put in by both sides until the breach of contact occurred, and this out of our determined decision to extract ourselves from the breach of contact that had existed.

What we are doing in this meeting, what we have done and what we will continue to do in our work is what is incumbent upon us by virtue of what we have undertaken between us to advance the issues between us and to reach agreement.  Our determination to advance these issues and to proceed is also intended to create the necessary atmosphere which stands in complete opposition to violence, to terror, and in our work together we are giving expression to that strong position against terror and to creating the atmosphere needed for making peace between us.

I wish also to take this opportunity to note the great will and strong sense of partnership that my colleague, Abu Mazen, has given expression to this evening, and also to thank Secretary of State Madeleine Albright for her efforts to bring the parties together; and in particular, as well, to Dennis Ross for his actions and for his efforts, his commitment to finding solutions and to advancing our common goal, a goal which we have each taken upon ourselves, both individually and as partners, to reach peace.  The United States is the world's great power and our great friend, and its involvement and its standing firm beside the parties as they try and make peace is something which we appreciate and value greatly.  Especially on a day when some may feel that there are dark clouds passing over us, this strong, firm stand taken by the parties, the expression that they have given to their mutual desire to advance towards peace is like a ray of light, and we are hopeful that this ray of light will continue to shine upon us and upon our efforts today, tomorrow and in the days to come.  Thank you.1/

Secretary-General of the Executive Committee of the PLO Mahmoud Abbas

I would like to express the appreciation of President Yasser Arafat to all efforts being exerted by the American Administration in the hope of reviving the peace process, with special thanks to President Clinton, Mme Albright and Ambassador Ross.

The peace process has been off track for a long time, and I say now, it's time to revive it. In this regard, I would reiterate our commitment to activate our coordination and cooperation in all spheres, including the security sphere, and our efforts to combat violence and terror whether committed by Israelis or Palestinians.

As of next week, we will start crucial talks and negotiations in Washington with a specified agenda, that will include the unilateral steps, especially in the field of settlement activities, confiscation of land, demolition of homes, and the confiscation of identity cards from Palestinians in Jerusalem.  Also, what will be discussed in Washington is the further redeployments and the permanent status negotiations and the Security Council.  These issues constitute the basic principles and fundamental basis to revive the peace process and to give the peace process the chance it deserves.

We are not starting from scratch.  Our peace process has clear-cut terms of reference, whether it's the Madrid formula, the Oslo accords, the DOP, which will lead to the implementation of Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973).  The committees concerning the implementation of the outstanding commitments of the Interim Agreement will resume tomorrow.  These committees have an objective of institutionalizing mechanisms of implementation of all these outstanding commitments.  What we need is the implementation on the ground.  We don't think that negotiations are an end in itself.  The implementation on the ground will be the only way to revive and to restore confidence and credibility to the peace process.

The Palestinian people and the Israeli people deserve a better future.  This is why I really wish real success for our endeavour to revive the peace process so that future generations can enjoy peace.  And my special appreciation also to all efforts also being exerted by Minister Levy.  Thank you.1/

Text of a statement by the Council of the European Union on the Middle East peace process

Luxembourg, 6-7 October 1997

On 7 October 1997, the following statement was issued by the Council of the European Union at its 2029th session held in Luxembourg:

Conclusions of the 2029th session of the General Affairs Council
Luxembourg, 6-7 October 1997
The peace process in the Middle East

The Council had an exchange of views on the Middle East peace process during which the Special Envoy for the Peace Process, Mr. Miguel-Angel Moratinos, presented a report on the current situation.

The Council welcomed the fact that the Israelis and the Palestinians, with the help of the United States, had agreed to resume their negotiations and thus to break the total impasse in the peace process.  This decision should allow the parties to resume their talks as of today as had already been decided following the meeting between President Yasser Arafat and Minister David Levy in Brussels, on 22 July.

This first stage should enable them, next week in Washington, to begin negotiations on the most fundamental aspects such as the redeployment of the Israeli army and cooperation on security matters.  The Council expressed the hope that the parties would also agree to avoid any unilateral action, which could make the progress of those negotiations more difficult or, indeed, cause them to fail.  It instructed the European Union’s Special Envoy for the Peace Process to remain in contact with the parties and with the United States and to examine with them the ideas of the European Union, particularly with regard to the Code of Conduct the Union had proposed for the negotiations.2/

Text of a statement by the Council of the European Union on the Middle East peace process

Brussels, 10 November 1997

On 10 November, the following statement was issued by the European Union at the 2041st session of the General Affairs Council, held in Brussels:

[Unofficial translation from French]
The peace process in the Middle East

The Council had an exchange of views on the state of the peace process and on the message that President Poos and Commissioner Marín would take to the parties concerned on their tour of the region from 10 to 14 November, in the course of which they were to visit Cairo, Amman, Damascus, Jerusalem, Gaza and Beirut.

The objective of that mission, which had been agreed upon during the informal meeting at Mondorf, was to make a contribution on behalf of the European Union to reviving the peace process by pursuing such concrete initiatives as the establishment of a code of conduct and support from the European Union for the opening of an airport and seaport in Gaza and free passage between the autonomous territories of the West Bank and Gaza.

The President has had contacts with the Secretary of State of the United States of America and with the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation in order to coordinate the position of the European Union with that of those two countries.3/

Text of the Agreement between Israel and Jordan on the Irbid Qualifying Industrial Zone

Doha, Qatar, 16 November 1997

The following is the text of the Agreement between Israel and Jordan on Irbid Qualifying Industrial Zone signed at Doha, Qatar, on 16 November 1997:

Agreement between the Government of the State of Israel and the Government of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan on Irbid Qualifying Industrial Zone
In recognition of the requirements in Section 9 of the United States-Israel Free Trade Area Implementation Act of 1985, as amended (the "legislation"), and Proclamation No. 6955 of the President of the United States of America (the "Proclamation"), the Government of the State of Israel and the Government of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan (the "Parties") hereby agree to the creation of the "Irbid Qualifying Industrial Zone" (the "QIZ"), and request that the Government of the United States designate it as a "Qualifying Industrial Zone" under the legislation and proclamation.
Article I
Geographic Boundaries

The Government of the State of Israel and the Government of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan hereby designate the following territory of their respective countries as enclaves where merchandise may enter without payment of duty or excise taxes, no matter what the country of origin of the merchandise.

A. For the Government of the State of Israel: An area under Israeli customs control within the boundaries of the land crossing the border at Sheikh Hussein-Nahar Hayarden Bridge, shown on the map attached as Exhibit A.

B. For the Government of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan: the Irbid duty-free area, shown on the map attached as Exhibit B.

On the basis of the respective national legislation of the parties, the customs authorities of Israel and Jordan shall establish special customs procedures for the purpose of assuring the speedy flow of goods into and out of the zone.  The purpose of these procedures is to ensure the strict enforcement of the principles of duty and taxation pursuant to this Agreement.  In the case of the State of Israel, where factories lying outside the zone will contribute part of the 35 per cent minimum content required by the Legislation and Proclamation, the Israeli customs authority will ensure that inputs imported from abroad incorporated into goods shipped into the zone will be exempt from duty.
Article II
Economic Cooperation

A. Recognizing that one of the primary purposes of the legislation and proclamation is to encourage economic cooperation in the region, the Government of the State of Israel and the Government of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan hereby agree to the establishment of a Joint Committee which will have the responsibility outlined below of identifying those businesses located within the Irbid Qualifying Industrial Zone which involve substantial economic cooperation between Israel and Jordan.  Goods processed in the zone by businesses identified by the Committee will be eligible for duty-free entry into the United States if the goods meet the requirements of the Legislation and Proclamation.

B. A representative of the United States shall have the right to participate in meetings of the Committee as an observer.

C. The Committee may determine that a business involves substantial economic cooperation between Israel and Jordan.

1. If the manufacturer on the Jordanian side of the QIZ and the Israeli manufacturer each contribute and maintain at least one third of the minimum 35 per cent content required under the legislation and proclamation for duty-free treatment in the United States.

Or:

2. If the manufacturer on the Jordanian size of the QIZ and the Israeli manufacturer each contribute and maintain at least 20 per cent of the total cost of production of goods eligible for duty-free treatment, excluding profits, even if the costs cannot be considered as part of the 35 per cent minimum content requirement.  For this purpose, costs may include originating materials, wages and salaries, design, research and development, depreciation of capital investment, overhead including marketing expenses, etc.

D. The Joint Committee shall have the authority to approve those businesses whose products will be eligible for duty-free entry into the United States based on the requirements of paragraph C and to cancel this eligibility if these requirements are no longer met.  Approval of eligibility for duty-free privileges will be reconfirmed by the Joint Committee on an annual basis.

E. The Joint Committee will promptly transmit to US Customs (Trade Compliance Office, Office of Field Operations) the names of those businesses whose products are eligible for duty-free treatment and identify the products produced or processed in the QIZ by those businesses which comply with the rule of origin requirements set out in the "outline for designations of qualifying industrial zone under Proclamation No. 6955" attached to the July 28, 1997 letter from the US Trade Representative to the Israeli and Jordanian Ministers of Industry and Trade.
Article III
Rules of Origin

The Government of the State of Israel and the Government of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan agree that the origin of any textile or apparel product that is processed in the Irbid Qualifying Industrial Zone, regardless of the origin or place of processing of any of its inputs or materials prior to entry into, or subsequent to withdrawal from, the zone, will be determined solely pursuant to the rules of origin for textile and apparel products set out in Section 334 of the Uruguay Round Agreement Act, 12 U.S.C. 3592.

Article IV
Customs Cooperation

The Government of the State of Israel and the Government of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan will assist United States authorities in obtaining information, including by means of verification, for the purpose of reviewing transactions for which duty-free access into the US is claimed in order to verify compliance with applicable conditions, and to prevent unlawful transshipment of articles not qualifying for duty-free access into the United States.
Article V
Entry into Force

This Agreement shall enter into force upon the completion of the necessary legal procedures by the Parties.

Done at Doha, Qatar, on the 16th day of the month of November 1997, in three original copies in the English language.

(Signed)

N. Sharansky

For the Government of the State of Israel

(Signed)

Hani Mulki

For the Government of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.4/

Text of a statement by the Council of the European Union on the Middle East peace process

Luxembourg, 13 December 1997

On 13 December 1997, the following statement was issued by the Council of the European Union at its session held in Luxembourg:

Council of the European Union
Luxembourg, 12 and 13 December 1997

Presidency Conclusions
Middle East Peace Process

70. The European Council reviewed developments in the Middle East peace process in the light of the results of the informal meeting of Foreign Ministers in Mondorf on 25 and 26 October, the visit to the region by the President of the Council of Ministers from 10 to 14 November and a report to the Council by the EU’s Special Envoy.

71. The European Council remained deeply concerned by the lack of progress in implementing all the commitments under the Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreements and the Hebron Protocol and by the continuing deadlock on the Syrian and Lebanese tracks.

72. The European Council reaffirmed its “Call for Peace in the Middle East” issued in Amsterdam on 16 and 17 June 1997 and recalled its declaration made in Florence on 21 June 1996.  It urged all the parties to honour their commitments under existing agreements and to live up to their responsibilities in order to restore momentum to the peace process and to protect it from further setbacks and to renew negotiations in a spirit of mutual confidence, with a view to reaching a just, lasting and comprehensive peace in the Middle East by the end of the century.

73. It expressed satisfaction at the activities of the Special Envoy and encouraged him to continue his efforts in support of the Middle East peace process.

74. It endorsed the following guidelines for an EU policy aimed at facilitating progress and restoring confidence between the parties:

a. Palestinian track

Short-term measures

75. The European Union will continue to use all its political and moral weight to ensure that all the provisions in the agreements already reached are fully implemented on the basis of reciprocity by both the Israeli and the Palestinian sides.

76. The European Council stressed the great urgency for the parties to live up to previous commitments especially as regards credible and significant redeployments.  It also stressed the importance of avoiding counter-productive unilateral actions, for instance on settlements and Jerusalem.  In this context, it welcomed the work in hand towards the early adoption of the Code of Conduct proposed by the EU.

77. The European Council recalled the EU’s determination to fight terrorism wherever it occurs and for whatever reason.  In this context, it also underlines the importance of security cooperation between Israelis and Palestinians.  This cooperation should be strengthened and not allowed to break down under any circumstances.  It also recalled the EU’s proposal for a Permanent Security Committee as a means of institutionalising security cooperation, as well as its counter-terrorism programme of assistance to the Palestinian Authority.

78. These steps will be helpful in restoring the spirit of partnership and mutual trust indispensable to the implementation of the Interim Agreements and the Hebron Protocol, as well as the resumption of permanent status talks.  They are aimed at preventing a breakdown in negotiations and at shielding the peace process from adverse circumstances.

79. The European Council underlined the importance of concluding negotiations in the nine committees created by the Interim Agreements.  The Gaza airport and port, as well as safe passage are issues of special relevance and urgency and the object of a substantial financial contribution from the EU.

80. The European Council emphasized that the EU is a major economic partner of both Israel and the Palestinian Authority as well as the largest donor of financial assistance to the Palestinian Authority.  Economic development is a prerequisite for political stability.  It reiterated its determination to work, including through the joint dialogue with Israel, towards the removal of obstacles to Palestinian economic development and to facilitate the free movement of people and goods.  It also stressed the need for the comprehensive implementation of the EC/PLO Interim Agreement.  The EU will also enhance its support to Palestinian institutions in East Jerusalem.

81. The European Council stressed the importance of people-to-people programmes as an essential means of reinforcing dialogue and restoring mutual confidence between the parties at the level of civil society.

82. The EU will also continue to monitor closely developments on the ground through its own human rights, Jerusalem and settlements watch instruments.

Medium-term

83. The European Council expressed the EU’s readiness to contribute to Permanent Status negotiations, by offering specific suggestions to the parties on related subjects, including possible Palestinian statehood, borders/security arrangements, settlements, refugees, Jerusalem and water issues.

84. It also called for a review of the EU’s financial support, with the aim of ensuring greater effectiveness in achieving the objectives of the peace process.

85. It insisted on the revival of regional economic cooperation as a means of promoting social and economic development and creating a sound environment for peaceful relations.

b. Syrian and Lebanese tracks

86. The European Council reiterated the importance which the EU attaches to the relaunching of negotiations on the Syrian and Lebanese tracks.  The EU seeks the restoration of a comprehensive process on the basis of "land for peace" and demands the full implementation of UN Security Council resolutions 242, 338 and 425.

c. Cooperation with the US and other parties

87. The European Council strongly supports US efforts to revive the peace process and expressed the EU’s willingness to work closely with the United States and to maintain close contact with Russia and the regional parties.5

*   *   *

Notes

1. Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, via the Internet at www.israel-mfa.gov.il/peace/prcf1097.html

2. As per the text received on 16 October 1997 from the Liaison Office of the General Secretariat of the Council of the European Union to the United Nations; also European Union Presidency site of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Luxembourg, via the Internet at http://www.uepres.etat.lu/uepres/textes/conseil/affg06oword.doc

3. European Union Presidency site of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Luxembourg, via the Internet at http//www.uepres.etat.lu/uepres/textes/conseil/10nov003.htm

4. Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, via the Internet at www.israel-mfa.gov.il/peace/irbid.html

5. European Union Presidency site of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Luxembourg, via the Internet at http//www.uepres.etat.lu/uepres/textes/conseil/13dec001.htm


Document symbol: Dev13
Document Type: Bulletin, Peace process review, Publication, Terms of reference
Document Source: Division for Palestinian Rights (DPR)
Subject: Negotiations and agreements, Palestine question
Publication Date: 31/12/1997