Summary of remarks to the press by Javier SOLANA,
EU High Representative for the CFSP,
on the situation in the Middle East and Iran
20 February 2006
The following is a summary of remarks to the press made by Javier Solana, EU High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP), on 20 February 2006:
"I want to talk to you about three things:
First, about my trip to the Middle East, secondly about the Quartet conference call that took place at 14.30 this afternoon, and then about the meeting I have just had with the Iranian Minister of Foreign Affairs.
The trip to the Middle East has been, to my mind, a very fruitful trip. I was in Saudi Arabia, Amman and Cairo. I met the Prime Minister of Lebanon, President Mahmoud ABBAS, Prime Minister OLMERT and other Israeli leaders. After the moments of some tension that we have experienced, we can say that understanding of the positions of both sides is making headway. I hope very much that the situation will recover to what it was before the crisis started, with the sense of friendship and dialogue, mutual respect and cooperation that always has characterized the relationship between the European Union and those countries with whom we had a very long and good relationship for many years.
Now let me say a word about the Palestinian and Israeli situation. As you know, the Palestinian Legislative Assembly was sworn in on Saturday morning.
I think that President ABBAS made a very good speech, a speech that was in the same tone as the conversation that I had with him on Thursday. It was long and detailed. President ABBAS has sent a letter to the future Prime Minister in order to set out points for the programme of action before forming a new government. As you know, these points are: recognition of all the agreements signed by the Palestinian Authority, agreement to continuing negotiations on the basis of the Road Map, recognition of Israel, and renunciation of violence. I hope very much that there will be a good relationship between the Palestinian Authority President and the future Prime Minister.
In the conference call that we had this afternoon, I wanted to be very clear about what we agreed. As you can imagine, what we agreed was not very different from the agreement that we established at the last meeting of the Quartet in February. We agreed the following points:
First, we will continue to support the Palestinian Authority until the new government is formed. We are trying to find the necessary resources to do that. As you know, it is not easy to find resources but the European Union is going to provide as much as possible; the World Bank, through the Trust Fund, is probably going to open the way to allow for cooperation with the Palestinian Authority and we hope that we will have enough money to sustain the Palestinian Authority at least until the new government is established.
Secondly, we will continue, with no time limit, to support the Palestinian People. We are not going to abandon the Palestinian people, in particular in the needs they have. I said the other day in front of President ABBAS, I said in public in Palestine, in Ramallah, that we did not abandon the Palestinian people yesterday, we will not do so today, and we will not do so tomorrow.
The third thing I would like to say is that once the government is formed, we will analyze the situation. In the Quartet, we stated very clearly the conditions for a full and complete relationship with the Palestinian Authority after the new government is constructed.
Let me also say that we are going to have a meeting, a telephone conversation or a video-conference every week to follow the situation on the ground and to check how the situation evolves in the coming days and weeks until the new government is formed. It could take two months, maybe more, to form a new government.