UNITED NATIONS INTERNATIONAL MEETING
IN SUPPORT OF MIDDLE EAST PEACE
Kyiv, 13 and 14 May 2003
1. The United Nations International Meeting in Support of Middle East Peace was held in Kyiv, on 13 and 14 May 2003, under the auspices of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People. Participants in the Meeting included international experts, representatives of Governments, intergovernmental organizations, United Nations system entities, Palestine, parliamentarians, civil society organizations, academic institutions and the media.
2. The Meeting was convened by the Committee with a view to promoting a dialogue on the political, security and economic factors critical for resolving the continuing crisis and resuming the peace process. In the course of the Meeting, the participants have reviewed the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, discussed the Road Map, its significance and potential for resuming the peace dialogue, and exchanged views on modalities for a peaceful settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
3. The meeting was held at a time of renewed hopes following the formal presentation of the Road Map to the parties on 30 April 2003. The participants welcomed the plan as a positive development with a potential for attaining peace in the region. They saw as particularly important that the Road Map was to lead the parties to the emergence of an independent, democratic and viable State of Palestine, living side by side in peace and security with Israel and its other neighbours, as affirmed in the Security Council resolution 1397 of 12 March 2002. The participants welcomed the acceptance by the Palestinian leadership of the Road Map and its readiness to implement it. They expressed their concern over the fact that the Israeli side had so far failed to accept this plan and urged the Israeli Government to do so without delay, so that the implementation of the Road Map could start in earnest with the help of the Quartet. It was also stressed that to avoid failures of the past peace efforts, parallel progress in security, political and economic areas was seen as absolutely essential.
4. While encouraged by the positive political developments of the last weeks, the participants agreed that the continuing occupation by Israel of the Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, remained the core of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, threatening the security and stability of the entire region. The constantly expanding illegal settlement activities, with numerous outposts springing throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and new Israeli-only roads and security zones cutting through the Palestinian land, were consistently described as developments that endangered the chances for a political settlement. The controversial separation barrier planned and implemented with utter disregard for Palestinian interests and rights was seen as another serious obstacle to peace. The participants expressed concern that suffering and dispossession of the Palestinian people continued unabated. They noted that since September 2000 more than 2,200 Palestinians and 700 Israelis had been killed and many more had been injured, and participants deplored the loss of innocent lives. The continuation of such an appalling loss of life was seen both as a reproach to all concerned and as a reason to redouble efforts in promoting a peaceful resolution of the conflict. The participants further strongly emphasized their conviction that there cannot be any military solution to the conflict; the lasting settlement can only be reached through a peaceful dialogue and political process between the two parties.
5. The participants also noted that because of an exceptionally high level of mistrust between the parties, the best hope was seen therefore in a continued international oversight and stewardship of the process, in particular through the Quartet, working closely with other international and regional actors. They appreciated Ukraine’s offer of good offices to promote negotiations between the parties. The meeting emphasized that an effective international monitoring mechanism was essential for any progress on the ground.
6. The participants urged the Security Council to endorse the Road Map, to call for its implementation and remain engaged on the issue, for as long as it might be required. They reaffirmed the permanent responsibility of the United Nations with respect to all the aspects of the question of Palestine, until it is resolved in conformity with relevant United Nations resolutions and norms of international law, and until the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people are fully realized.
7. Participants voiced alarm over the many Palestinian civilians falling victim to the excessive military force used by Israel in densely populated areas. Moreover, those disproportionate actions resulted increasingly in casualties among United Nations personnel, international volunteers and journalists. They called upon Israel, the occupying power, to honour its obligations under the Fourth Geneva Convention and immediately terminate all acts of violence against innocent civilians.
8. The meeting commended the international donor assistance to the Palestinian people and emphasized its vital importance during the current period of a virtual collapse of the Palestinian economy and large-scale destruction on the ground. The participants noted that harsh restrictions on the movement of people and goods, prolonged withholding by Israel of the Palestinian tax and customs revenues, and other measures of collective punishment had a disastrous effect on the Palestinian economy as a whole, as well as on the livelihood of individual Palestinian households. Participants emphasized the responsibility of Israel to facilitate the efforts by the donor community and called for the implementation of the recommendations of the report by the Personal Humanitarian Envoy of the Secretary-General Catherine Bertini. Donor assistance was considered a key factor in efforts at alleviating the present grave humanitarian crisis and supporting the political process.
9. The Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, H.E. Mr. Papa Louis Fall, and the delegation of the Committee were received by H.E. Mr. Leonid Kuchma, President of Ukraine, and H.E. Mr. Anatoliy Zlenko, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, both of whom stressed the importance of supporting peace in the Middle East at this critical stage and welcomed the efforts of the Committee in that regard. The Committee delegation expressed its deep appreciation for the active and constructive role played by Ukraine, a member of the Committee since its inception, in the search for a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the region.
10. The participants also expressed gratitude to the Minister for Foreign Affairs and to the Government of Ukraine for hosting the Meeting and for the assistance and support extended to the Committee and the United Nations Secretariat in its preparation.
Kyiv, 14 May 2003
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