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Press Release

Meeting of the Executive of the Socialist International, Budapest

14 May 2004

STATEMENT

The Executive of the Socialist International, meeting in Budapest on 14 May 2004, expresses its great satisfaction, from this new capital of the European Union, at the successful completion of the enlargement process which has brought EU membership to 25. The Socialist International, its leaders and its members, including the Hungarian Socialist Party, have been at the forefront of this historical development which has placed peace, democracy and progress at the center of these new times for the people of Europe .

Now European citizens in twenty five countries will next month vote for the European Parliament and to shape the way this new Europe will move forward at this crucial time. We Social Democrats, all across the continent, are strongly campaigning to make of Europe a force for good for its people and for the world, to make of Europe a continent of opportunities for all, and to make of Europe a pillar for security, peace and stability, economic progress and inclusion in a continent and in a world whose political leaders need to address these concerns. We look forward to the approval and ratification of the European Constitution for which we have striven.

We appeal to Europe, to its citizens, to give to social democracy, to give to us, their confidence and their support in the forthcoming European elections, to move forward our vision and to realise our commitments.

Current developments in Iraq once more show the need to strengthen multilateralism in facing the challenges to peace and security in the world. The role that we have long been advocating for the United Nations must be implemented. A new resolution of the Security Council is needed to lay the foundations for the immediate recognition of a sovereign Iraq with a legitimate government with sovereign decision-making authority over its own resources and defining a comprehensive United Nations mandate for this critical phase of transition. We, in the Socialist International, stand ready to continue supporting the democratic forces in that country to advance and consolidate a truly democratic, free and inclusive Iraq. We condemn unequivocally all acts of torture, abuse and humiliation inflicted on Iraqi prisoners. These acts are violations of the Geneva Conventions and of the value system that we share with the United States and all civilized nations. All responsible persons must be held accountable without exception. We express our horror at the assassination of an American citizen in Iraq. It is an act of utter barbarism for which there can be no justification. All efforts must be made to bring the murderers to justice.

We remain deeply concerned over the lack of progress and the increasing suffering of the people in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The acute need to reach a peace agreement is vital for the people in the region and the international community as a whole. Peace negotiations must be resumed based on the road map. Future borders between the two states, a final settlement for Jerusalem and a just solution to the refugee problem must be negotiated on the basis of UN Security Council resolutions by the two sides without any prejudices. Full withdrawal from Gaza and the rest of the occupied territories is necessary, followed by negotiations on a final settlement for the West Bank including East Jerusalem. The international community can offer incentives. The European Union should encourage a political solution by inviting Jordan, Palestine and Israel to be linked to the internal market through a special agreement. The EEA agreement between EFTA countries and the EU can be used as a model. Jordan, Israel and Palestine, and possibly Iraq and Egypt, could be invited to join NATO’s "Partnership for Peace" network and regional programmes for development could be offered.

In regard to developments in the global economy we are encouraged by the fact that the European Union and other industrialised countries have taken the initiative, as we have urged them to do, following the collapse of the Cancun talks. We have called for a more balanced approach to advance on world trade rules and have worked consistently for a resumption of negotiations at global level to move forward these goals and the Doha Development Agenda. In particular we underline the continuing need to open the markets of developed countries to products of poor countries and to eliminate subsidies to agriculture in the industrialized countries. We stand for free, fair and sustainable trade to move the world economy forward, creating opportunities for all.

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