France welcomes the fact that the Israeli and Palestinian authorities committed themselves at the Annapolis conference, before the international community, to resume immediate peace negotiations on all final-status issues.
It is necessary to restore a political perspective to the Palestinian and Israeli peoples. By initiating a new political, diplomatic and economic cycle, the Annapolis meeting has ushered in a period of hope and progress which is to lead, as the parties pledged, to an agreement on establishing an independent and viable Palestinian state before the end of 2008.
In order that the entire Palestinian and Israeli populations can join in this dynamic for peace, it is necessary to see actual progress on the ground in the weeks and months ahead. The commitment of both parties to immediately fulfill their respective duties prescribed by the Roadmap drawn up in April 2003 by the Quartet is an essential element.
We must collectively take our full part in this process of implementing the first phase of the Roadmap. We salute the resolve of the American authorities to contribute to it fully. In order for a just and lasting solution to be found to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the final-status negotiations will have to be based in particular on Security Council resolutions 242, 338, 1397 and 1515, the terms of reference of the Madrid Conference and the principles of the Arab peace initiative.
The road and timetable to achieve this objective are known. A dynamic has been launched. The entire international community must support it in practical ways. To this end, during the session on institutional reform and Palestinian Authority capacity-building, the minister presented the international conference which is to be held in Paris on December 17. The purpose of the conference is to mobilize donors and provide financial and political support to the Palestinian Authority in order to help it build a viable state.
Q - The Palestine delegate-general to the European Union deplored the fact that the Europeans were removed from the follow-up process to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, leaving only the Americans. Can the donors’ conference in Paris make up for this political marginalization?
The positive results achieved at Annapolis are the beginning of the process. The international conference in Paris is the next stage in the momentum for peace launched by Annapolis. France, which will chair the conference alongside the European Union, will therefore have a key political role to play, like the European Union. French and European diplomats are fully mobilized to bring about the conditions for a viable Palestinian state living in peace with Israel.
Q - American President George Bush said yesterday that Israel should be recognized as the homeland of the Jewish people. Does France agree with President Bush’s position?
As I’ve said before, we consider that all final-status issues must be the subject of a negotiated agreement between the parties on the basis of the relevant UN resolutions.