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The EU Council welcomes the Doha agreement on Lebanon and promotes the Middle-East Peace Process

The EU General Affairs and External Relations Council devoted particular attention to Lebanon and the Middle-East Peace Process at its session today.

At the outset, GAERC President, Slovenian Foreign Minister Dimitrij Rupel, expressed his satisfaction with the intervention of the Qatar authorities and the Arab League, which resulted in an agreement on the restoration of democratic institutions in Doha on 21 May. According to the Slovenian Foreign Minister, the agreement opens the path to international reconciliation. Dr Rupel outlined that the long awaited election of Michel Suleiman as President of Lebanon was an important step in this direction. “We now expect Lebanon to form a national unity government and then to adopt amendments to the electoral legislation, as envisaged by the Arab League plan,” noted the Slovenian Foreign Minister.

In its conclusions, in addition to stating its satisfaction regarding the achieved results and thanking all who contributed, the EU Council expressed solidarity with the Lebanese people and support for the lawful Lebanese government.

The EU foreign ministers regret the recent acts of violence which have claimed 70 lives and wounded 250 people, and condemn all attempts to threaten peace and stability in the country. In this regard, they welcome the Doha agreement on the prohibition of the use of weapons and violence to resolve conflicts.

As regards the Middle-East Peace Process, the EU Council supports the efforts of all sides in the negotiations on all important issues, including the final status, with the wish that a peace agreement be achieved by the end of 2008. The EU Council warned that a comprehensive solution was required in order to achieve peace; it highlighted the constructive engagement of the Arab partners, and drew attention to the Arab peace initiative. The EU stresses the need for concrete results which would facilitate negotiations and calls upon both sides to fulfil commitments under the roadmap, which would contribute to establishing trust between Israelis and Palestinians.

The European Union is concerned about the construction of new settlements and stresses that this is an illegal activity under international law which prejudices the final status of negotiations and threatens a solution which would lead to two countries. Therefore, it calls upon Israel to freeze the construction activities and to abolish control points established after 2001.

The European Union condemns the missiles fired from Gaza to the area of southern Israel and all other activities which are contrary to international law and threaten the civilian population. It recognises the right of Israel to self-defence, but urges it to renounce violence.

The EU is also concerned about the unbearable humanitarian situation in Gaza and calls upon all sides to re-open all crossing points, due to both humanitarian reasons and trade. Therefore, it condemns attacks from Gaza on the crossing points.

The EU will endeavour to provide assistance in establishing the Palestinian state and welcomes the activities of the Palestinian authorities to develop the security services. In this regard, it concluded that it would extend the scope of the EUPOL COPPS mission to the area of criminal law.

Finally, the EU calls upon all donors to fulfil the commitments made in December at the donor conference for Palestine in Paris.


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Date: 30.05.2008