Brussels, 2 September 2007
Summary of remarks given to the media
by Javier SOLANA, EU High Representative for CFSP,
following his meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud ABBAS
Javier SOLANA, EU High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP), met with the Palestinian President Mahmoud ABBAS on Sunday, 2 September 2007, during his ongoing visit in the region. The meeting provided an opportunity to discuss the latest developments in the region in the run-up to the EU foreign ministers' meeting in Portugal, the Quartet meeting in New York in September and the international Middle East peace conference planned for November 2007. At a joint press briefing together with President Abbas Mr. Solana made the following remarks:
"I had a very good meeting with President Abbas. It is not long since my last visit but today's meeting is especially important for me. We are facing an important period over the coming months with the United Nations General Assembly, the international meeting in November, the meeting of the Quartet and a ministerial meeting of the ad hoc liaison committee. So, we have a lot of activity between now and December. The ad hoc liaison committee will meet in September in New York and the donors conference will be held in December. We now have an opportunity to make a push for the Palestinian people – for peace. On the behalf of the EU, I emphasise to you again our support for President Abbas. We want to see our efforts bearing fruit. We will maintain our commitments to all the Palestinian people. We will continue to ensure that allowances and salaries are paid. We are also continuing to help the Palestinian Government economically, politically and in security matters. Let me say again that it is very important that this opportunity is taken constructively by everyone in order to move the peace process forward".
Asked if the High Representative was helping to bridge the gap between Israel and Palestine, Mr. Solana replied: "Yes, of course. We are trying to help catalyse the meetings, especially the international meeting in November. It is very important that the Abbas – Olmert dialogue is taking place".
Asked about negotiating with Hamas, Mr. Solana replied: "It is very clear that the person responsible for negotiations with Israel is President Abbas. He has dual legitimacy as President of the Palestinian Authority and as chair of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). We continue to accompany the process and the political process is essential, not only to improve the lives of people but to give a direction for the future. I don't think there will be a solution soon but there is no doubt that we will get closer to the day an agreement is reached if we all take the right steps".