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 Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Serbia and Montenegro, and the EFTA countries Iceland and Liechtenstein, members of the European Economic Area, align themselves with this statement.
We would like to restate our firm commitment to enabling the Palestinian people to fulfil their unconditional right to self-determination, including the possibility of establishing a sovereign state. Thus, the European Union warmly welcomes the goal as set forth in the Quartet Roadmap and as agreed upon by both parties, to achieve a two state solution which would result in a viable, contiguous, sovereign and independent Palestinian State existing side by side in peace with an Israel living within recognised and secure borders. It is our clear conviction that such a solution constitutes the best possible guarantee for the security of Israel and the acceptance of Israel as an integrated partner in the region.
The European Union is actively engaged in the efforts of the Quartet to seek a final, just and comprehensive settlement in accordance with Security Council resolutions 242, 338, 1397 and the Road Map as presented by the Quartet to the Parties on 30 April 2003.
The right to self-determination includes the holding of elections within the framework of a democratic society. Therefore, the European Union underlines its readiness to support the electoral process in the Palestinian Territories. The European Union calls upon the Palestinian Authority to organise elections in accordance with international standards under the authority of an independent electoral commission and calls upon Israel to facilitate these elections.
Important elements of a process towards peace in the Middle East have thus been set in motion and the European Union expresses its strong commitment to assist – in cooperation with our partners in the Quartet and in the Arab world – the Palestinian people in their efforts to achieve self-determination.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.