Statement on the Middle East

GENEVA COUNCIL - Making global markets work for all, 23-24 November 1998

The Council of the Socialist International meeting in Geneva on 23-24 November 1998, to review the very serious conditions still prevailing in the Middle East:

welcomes the Wye River Agreement between the government of Israel and the PLO on redeployment, security and other issues, while still expressing its grave concern over the many serious delays in the peace process, which make it all the more important to have an expedient follow-up of the Agreement;

congratulates President Clinton and his administration on their persistent efforts to assist the parties in reaching the Agreement;

rejects any unilateral initiative by any party to impose conditions or reservations related to the Wye River Agreement;

asks thatthe European Union should play a greater role, including in the implementation of the Agreement;

reaffirms its general support for the efforts by the USA, EU, Egypt, Jordan, Norway and others to assist the parties in embarking upon final status negotiations with the aim of a permanent agreement concerning, inter alia, Jerusalem, settlements, refugees, water and borders without delay;

underlines the importance of the full implementation by both parties of all relevant decisions and agreements to achieve a durable and mutually acceptable peace between the Israeli and Palestinian peoples, on the basis of the UN Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338, which embody the principle of Land for Peace;

reaffirms that these principles and agreements provide for Israeli withdrawal from Palestinian territories, allowing the Palestinians to practice their inalienable right to self-determination and the setting up of an independent Palestinian state;

calls for Israel and Syria to resume negotiations on the Syrian track on the basis of UN Resolutions and the terms of reference of the Madrid Conference; while appreciating that the Israeli-Lebanese track of the peace process is embedded in a wider context, the Socialist International insists that it be treated as an issue in its own right and with full respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Lebanon;

calls upon Israel to bring the settlement policies that aim at establishing a de facto situation in the occupied territories, to an immediate close;

condemns terrorism, killing and maiming of innocent civilians by any organisation or individual who opposes the peace process, and urges the parties to enhance and strengthen security cooperation;

appeals to the international, and particularly to the European community to rally economic support for the Palestinian Authority. The Palestinian Authority under the leadership of President Yasser Arafat is displaying enormous efforts to build up Palestinian society and achieve peace. It is an urgent necessity to extend assistance to the Palestinian people to relieve their living conditions under the present hardships and contribute to the establishment of a sound economy for the Palestinian state.

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