2 December 2003
The Geneva Accord, a peace initiative launched by a wide array of Israeli and Palestinian civic leaders, was presented in Geneva yesterday during a ceremony attended by numerous international guests invited by the Swiss government, represented by Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey, renewing hopes for revitalising the peace process in the Middle East.
Yossi Beilin, a former Israeli justice minister, and Yasser Abed Rabbo, a former minister of information in the Palestinian Authority, began the initiative nearly three years ago after the last official talks between Israel and the Palestinians ended. In Geneva they emphasised that the Accord provides an unofficial framework for securing peace through the establishment of a Palestinian state and advancing solutions to the core issues of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. They both expressed hope that it would encourage Israeli and Palestinian leaders to return to the negotiating table to seek a lasting solution.
The ceremony in Geneva was attended by more than a thousand participants and backing for the Accord came from throughout the globe, with nearly sixty former world leaders signing a statement of support.
The Congress of the Socialist International in Sao Paulo on 27-29 October encouraged in its resolutions this initiative underlining that it creates opportunities for peace, as envisaged in the third part of the Roadmap. The Socialist International was represented at the ceremony in Geneva by its Secretary General, Luis Ayala.