Mid­dle East Quar­tet State­ment — Mid­dle East Peace

The Quartet—U.N. Sec­re­tary Gen­er­al Ban Ki-moon, Russ­ian For­eign Min­is­ter Sergei Lavrov, U.S. Sec­re­tary of State Hillary Rod­ham Clin­ton, U.S. Spe­cial Envoy for Mid­dle East Peace George Mitchell, and High Rep­re­sen­ta­tive for For­eign Affairs and Secu­ri­ty Pol­i­cy of the Euro­pean Union Cather­ine Ashton—met in Moscow on March 19, 2010. They were joined by Quar­tet Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Tony Blair.

Reaf­firm­ing the fun­da­men­tal prin­ci­ples laid down in its state­ment in Tri­este on June 26, 2009, the Quar­tet wel­comes the readi­ness to launch prox­im­i­ty talks between Israel and the Pales­tini­ans. The Quar­tet empha­sizes that the cir­cum­stances which made it pos­si­ble to agree to launch the prox­im­i­ty talks be respect­ed. The prox­im­i­ty talks are an impor­tant step toward the resump­tion, with­out pre­con­di­tions, of direct, bilat­er­al nego­ti­a­tions that resolve all final sta­tus issues as pre­vi­ous­ly agreed by the par­ties. The Quar­tet believes these nego­ti­a­tions should lead to a set­tle­ment, nego­ti­at­ed between the par­ties with­in 24 months, that ends the occu­pa­tion which began in 1967 and results in the emer­gence of an inde­pen­dent, demo­c­ra­t­ic, and viable Pales­tin­ian state liv­ing side by side in peace and secu­ri­ty with Israel and its oth­er neigh­bors. The Quar­tet reit­er­ates that Arab-Israeli peace and the estab­lish­ment of a peace­ful state of Pales­tine in the West Bank and Gaza is in the fun­da­men­tal inter­ests of the par­ties, of all states in the region, and of the inter­na­tion­al com­mu­ni­ty. In this regard, the Quar­tet calls on all states to sup­port dia­logue between the par­ties.

The Quar­tet reit­er­ates its call on Israel and the Pales­tini­ans to act on the basis of inter­na­tion­al law and on their pre­vi­ous agree­ments and oblig­a­tions — in par­tic­u­lar adher­ence to the Roadmap, irre­spec­tive of reci­procity — to pro­mote an envi­ron­ment con­ducive to suc­cess­ful nego­ti­a­tions and re-affirms that uni­lat­er­al actions tak­en by either par­ty can­not pre­judge the out­come of nego­ti­a­tions and will not be rec­og­nized by the inter­na­tion­al com­mu­ni­ty. The Quar­tet urges the gov­ern­ment of Israel to freeze all set­tle­ment activ­i­ty, includ­ing nat­ur­al growth, dis­man­tle out­posts erect­ed since March 2001; and to refrain from demo­li­tions and evic­tions in East Jerusalem. The Quar­tet also calls on both sides to observe calm and restraint and to refrain from provoca­tive actions and inflam­ma­to­ry rhetoric espe­cial­ly in areas of cul­tur­al and reli­gious sen­si­tiv­i­ty. Not­ing the sig­nif­i­cant progress on secu­ri­ty achieved by the Pales­tin­ian Author­i­ty in the West Bank the Quar­tet calls on the Pales­tin­ian Author­i­ty to con­tin­ue to make every effort to improve law and order, to fight vio­lent extrem­ism, and to end incite­ment. The Quar­tet empha­sizes the need to assist the Pales­tin­ian Author­i­ty in build­ing its law enforce­ment capac­i­ty.

Recall­ing that the annex­a­tion of East Jerusalem is not rec­og­nized by the inter­na­tion­al com­mu­ni­ty, the Quar­tet under­scores that the sta­tus of Jerusalem is a per­ma­nent sta­tus issue that must be resolved through nego­ti­a­tions between the par­ties and con­demns the deci­sion by the gov­ern­ment of Israel to advance plan­ning for new hous­ing units in East Jerusalem. The Quar­tet re-affirms its inten­tion to close­ly mon­i­tor devel­op­ments in Jerusalem and to keep under con­sid­er­a­tion addi­tion­al steps that may be required to address the sit­u­a­tion on the ground. The Quar­tet rec­og­nizes that Jerusalem is a deeply impor­tant issue for Israelis and Pales­tini­ans, and for Jews, Mus­lims, and Chris­tians and believes that through good faith nego­ti­a­tions the par­ties can mutu­al­ly agree on an out­come that real­izes the aspi­ra­tions of both par­ties for Jerusalem, and safe­guards its sta­tus for peo­ple around the world.

Recall­ing that trans­for­ma­tive change on the ground is inte­gral to peace, the Quar­tet con­tin­ues to sup­port the Pales­tin­ian Authority’s plan of August 2009 for build­ing the Pales­tin­ian state with­in 24 months as a demon­stra­tion of Pales­tini­ans’ seri­ous com­mit­ment to an inde­pen­dent state that pro­vides good gov­er­nance, oppor­tu­ni­ty, jus­tice, and secu­ri­ty for the Pales­tin­ian peo­ple from the first day that it is estab­lished and is a respon­si­ble neigh­bor to all states in the region. The Quar­tet takes

pos­i­tive note of Israel’s steps to ease restric­tions of move­ment in the West Bank and calls for fur­ther and sus­tained steps to facil­i­tate the state build­ing efforts of the Pales­tin­ian Author­i­ty. The Quar­tet endors­es ful­ly the efforts of the Quar­tet Rep­re­sen­ta­tive in sup­port of Prime Min­is­ter Fayyad’s state-build­ing and eco­nom­ic devel­op­ment pro­gram which has seen sig­nif­i­cant improve­ment in the Pales­tin­ian Authority’s per­for­mance with respect to secu­ri­ty and law and order and improved eco­nom­ic growth. The Quar­tet sup­ports the Quar­tet Rep­re­sen­ta­tive in his vital efforts to pro­mote change on the ground in aid of the polit­i­cal nego­ti­a­tions.

The Quar­tet fur­ther calls on all states in the region and in the wider inter­na­tion­al com­mu­ni­ty to match the Pales­tin­ian com­mit­ment to state-build­ing by con­tribut­ing imme­di­ate, con­crete, and sus­tained sup­port for the Pales­tin­ian Author­i­ty and, in this regard, looks for­ward to the upcom­ing meet­ing of the Ad Hoc Liai­son Com­mit­tee (AHLC) to coor­di­nate inter­na­tion­al sup­port for the Pales­tin­ian state build­ing effort.

The Quar­tet is deeply con­cerned by the con­tin­u­ing dete­ri­o­ra­tion in Gaza, includ­ing the human­i­tar­i­an and human rights sit­u­a­tion of the civil­ian pop­u­la­tion, and stress­es the urgency of a durable res­o­lu­tion to the Gaza cri­sis. The Quar­tet calls for a solu­tion that address­es Israel’s legit­i­mate secu­ri­ty con­cerns, includ­ing an end to weapons smug­gling into Gaza; pro­motes Pales­tin­ian uni­ty based on the PLO com­mit­ments and the re-uni­fi­ca­tion of Gaza and the West Bank under the legit­i­mate Pales­tin­ian Author­i­ty; and ensures the open­ing of the cross­ings to allow for the unim­ped­ed flow of human­i­tar­i­an aid, com­mer­cial goods, and per­sons to and from Gaza, con­sis­tent with UN Secu­ri­ty Coun­cil Res­o­lu­tion 1860. The Quar­tet takes pos­i­tive note that the Israeli gov­ern­ment has just com­mu­ni­cat­ed its approval of a num­ber of the UN Sec­re­tary General’s civil­ian recov­ery projects, includ­ing a stalled hous­ing project in Khan You­nis and looks for­ward to their ear­ly imple­men­ta­tion. The Quar­tet con­demns yesterday’s rock­et fire from Gaza and calls for an imme­di­ate end to vio­lence and ter­ror and for calm to be respect­ed. The Quar­tet reit­er­ates its call for the imme­di­ate release of Israeli sol­dier Gilad Shalit.

Rec­og­niz­ing the sig­nif­i­cance of the Arab Peace Ini­tia­tive, the Quar­tet looks for­ward to clos­er coop­er­a­tion with the par­ties and the Arab League and urges region­al gov­ern­ments to sup­port pub­licly the resump­tion of bilat­er­al nego­ti­a­tions, enter into a struc­tured region­al dia­logue on issues of com­mon con­cern, and take steps to fos­ter pos­i­tive rela­tions through­out the region in the con­text of progress towards com­pre­hen­sive peace on the basis of UN Secu­ri­ty Coun­cil Res­o­lu­tions 242, 338, 1397, 1515, and 1850 and the Madrid prin­ci­ples, includ­ing through the con­clu­sion of peace agree­ments between Israel and Syr­ia and Israel and Lebanon.

The Quar­tet com­mits to remain active­ly involved on all tracks and to encour­age and review progress. The Quar­tet com­mits to meet reg­u­lar­ly and tasks the envoys to inten­si­fy their coop­er­a­tion, to main­tain con­tacts with the Arab League Com­mit­tee on the Arab Peace Ini­tia­tive, and to for­mu­late rec­om­men­da­tions for Quar­tet action.

The Quar­tet re-affirms its pre­vi­ous state­ments and sup­ports, in con­sul­ta­tion with the par­ties, an inter­na­tion­al con­fer­ence in Moscow at the appro­pri­ate time con­cur­rent with direct nego­ti­a­tions.

Euro­pean Union