I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union. The Candidate Countries Bulgaria, Romania, Turkey and Croatia , the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Bosnia and Herzegovina, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Serbia and Montenegro. The EFTA countries Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, members of the European Economic Area, align themselves with this explanation of vote.
The European Union has voted in favour of the draft resolution contained in document L.41. We believe that the natural resources of any territory seized by force of arms should not be used inappropriately or illegally by the occupying power. We wish, however, to take this opportunity to express our interpretation of certain aspects of the text.
The European Union reaffirms the applicability of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 to the occupied territories and also reaffirms that any infringement of the rights of the Palestinian people with regard to this Convention is illegal.
However, the issues referred to in this resolution are matters, which are to be dealt with in the framework of the permanent status negotiations of the Middle East Peace Process. The European Union remains committed – in close cooperation with our partners in the Quartet and in the Arab world – to assisting the parties in their efforts to find a final settlement to the Middle East conflict. The resolution adopted today must therefore not be considered as prejudicial to or pre-emptive of the outcome of these negotiations. Any actions or statement, which might be seen as doing so, has to be avoided.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.