Presidency conclusions of the Brussels European Council (16 and 17 June 2005).

Strategic Partnership with the Mediterranean region and the Middle East

Middle East Peace Process

57. The European Council adopted a declaration on the Middle East Peace Process, which is set out in Annex IV, and a declaration on Lebanon (Annex V).


ANNEX IV

Declaration on the Middle East Peace Process

1. The European Council stresses the global strategic importance of peace, stability and prosperity in the Mediterranean.  This is the context in which the European commitment to the resolution of the Middle East conflict must be seen.  The European Union is firmly resolved to continue its action with a view to achieving this goal.

2. The European Council welcomes the positive developments in recent months.  Thus, the peaceful transition of power in the Palestinian Authority with respect for the institutions, the Sharm el-Sheikh Summit, and the materialisation of the withdrawal from Gaza and from certain parts of the northern West Bank have all created an opportunity for tangible progress towards the resolution of the conflict.  It is crucial that the parties to the conflict, along with the international community, make every effort to make the most of this context and avoid a new escalation of violence.

3. The European Council recalls in this regard the importance of full implementation by the parties of the obligations incumbent upon them under the first phase of the Roadmap.  It notes that the latter provides for measures to be taken in parallel by the two sides.

4. The European Council stresses the importance for the Palestinian Authority of fulfilling all its obligations with regard to security, including those accepted at Sharm el-Sheikh, where all parties undertook to cease all acts of violence.  The Palestinian Authority must in particular demonstrate its complete determination to combat terrorism and continue with the reorganisation of all security services.  The European Council calls on the Palestinian Authority to continue with the ongoing reform process, to intensify consolidation of the institutions and to set as soon as possible a date for the organisation of free and fair legislative elections.

5. The European Council calls on all parties to take all necessary steps to enable those elections to be held in all the Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem.

6. The European Council also stresses the need for a halt to Israeli settlement activities in the Palestinian Territories.  This implies a complete cessation of construction of dwellings and new infrastructures such as bypass roads.  The European Council also calls for the abolition of financial and tax incentives and direct and indirect subsidies, and the withdrawal of exemptions benefiting the settlements and their inhabitants.  The European Council urges Israel to dismantle illicit settlement outposts.  Settlement policy is an obstacle to peace and threatens to make any solution based on the coexistence of two States physically impossible.

7. The European Council, while recognising the right of Israel to protect its citizens from attacks, remains concerned by the continuing construction of the separation barrier in the occupied Palestinian territory, including in and around East Jerusalem, which is contrary to the relevant provisions of international law.

8. The European Council commends the political courage shown by the leaders of the two sides with regard to the withdrawal from Gaza and certain parts of the northern West Bank.  The Council calls on countries in the region to facilitate the Palestinian Authority's efforts to establish control in its territory and to step up their political and economic support.  It stresses the importance of a successful disengagement, including for the advancement of the peace process.  The European Council confirms the European Union's support for the Quartet's Special Envoy for disengagement, Mr James Wolfensohn, and its determination to work in close cooperation with him to ensure the success of the project.  To ensure the social and economic viability of Gaza, the European Council stresses the need for access to the outside, particularly through the borders with Egypt and through a port and an airport, and to establish a meaningful link with the West Bank.

9. In this context, the European Council reasserts that the Israeli withdrawal must be carried out in the framework outlined in the conclusions of the European Council of March 2004, and in particular form an integral part of the process specified by the roadmap.

10. The European Council undertakes to intensify its assistance to the Palestinian Authority to pursue institutional consolidation.

11. The European Council reiterates the importance it attaches to compliance with international law by the parties.  In particular, no party should undertake unilateral measures or prejudge questions relating to final status.  The European Union will not recognise any change to the 1967 borders other than those negotiated between the parties.  A just, lasting and comprehensive settlement of the conflict must be based on United Nations Security Council Resolutions 242, 338 and 1515, the terms of reference of the Madrid Conference and the principle of land-for-peace.

12. The European Union encourages the parties to move forward resolutely in implementing the Roadmap on the basis of these principles.  It undertakes to assist Israelis and Palestinians in advancing the peace process and achieving the goal of coexistence of the two States through the creation of an independent, democratic, contiguous and viable Palestinian State, living side-by-side with Israel and its other neighbours in peace and security.  The European Union cannot commit itself to any other path.

13. The European Council reaffirms that a just, lasting and comprehensive peace must meet the legitimate aspirations of both the Israeli and Palestinian peoples and include Lebanon and Syria.  It calls for a relaunch of efforts to make progress on all the tracks of the peace process.

14. The European Union will continue to oppose all those who have recourse to violence and to support all those who reject violence and strive for peace and security in order to construct a better future for the region.


ANNEX V

Declaration on Lebanon

1. The European Council notes the withdrawal of Syrian military forces from Lebanon and the impending return of the United Nations verification team to the country.  It reaffirms the importance it attaches to the sovereignty, territorial integrity, unity and political independence of Lebanon and reiterates its call for Security Council Resolution 1559 to be implemented in full.  In this connection it renews its full support for Mr Terje Roed-Larsen's mission.

2. The European Council welcomes the smooth conduct, so far, of Lebanon's parliamentary elections, which correspond to the Lebanese people's desire for independence.  It awaits with interest the overall report which will be drawn up by the European Union's Election Observation Mission after the elections.

3. The European Council strongly condemns the recent politically motivated attacks and assassinations, expresses its dismay at their destabilising effect, and calls for their perpetrators to be brought to justice at the earliest opportunity.

4. The European Council reaffirms its support for the independent international investigation Commission into the assassination of Rafic Hariri which was set up in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 1595.  It renews its appeal to the Lebanese authorities to continue to provide their unqualified support to the international investigation Commission and hopes that the latter will be able to bring its work rapidly to a successful conclusion.

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