BRUSSELS, Tuesday, February 14, 2023 (WAFA) - High Representative and Vice-President of the European Commission Josep Borrell yesterday convened a meeting in Brussels with Saudi Arabia Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan, and Secretary-General of the League of Arab States Ahmed Aboul Gheit to discuss the Middle East peace process, the increasing number of victims of violence, conflict and occupation, and the absence of a political perspective for a peaceful solution.
A joint statement issued by the three officials said they “condemned the decision announced the day before by the Israeli government to legalize under Israeli law nine settlement outposts in the occupied West Bank.”
They also agreed “to explore ways to revive and safeguard the prospect of the two-State solution and to achieve a just, comprehensive and lasting peace, freedom, security, recognition, equal rights and prosperity for all peoples affected by the ongoing conflict, according to internationally-recognized parameters and the Arab Peace Initiative,” and “agreed to reach out to international and regional partners to this end.”
The trilateral meeting built on the Ministerial meeting held in New York on 20 September 2022 to mark the 20-year anniversary of the Arab Peace Initiative, where, based on the invitation of the Saudi Foreign Minister the Arab League Secretary-General, and hosted by the High Representative, “the participants discussed ideas to revive the Middle East peace efforts based on the Arab Peace Initiative, United Nations resolutions and established international peace parameters.”
The meeting also “underlined the enduring importance of the Arab Peace Initiative as well as of the European Union’s proposal, set out in the Council Conclusions of December 2013, to offer an unprecedented package of political, economic and security support to Palestine and Israel in the context of a final status agreement.”
In light of the very difficult situation on the ground, the participants agreed “on the urgent need to revive the Middle East peace efforts envisaging the potential of comprehensive regional peace. Such an effort aims to identify what contributions the participants’ governments and organizations would make to comprehensive peace, if and when, an Israeli-Palestinian final status agreement is reached wherein a sovereign and contiguous Palestinian state lives side-by-side in peace and security with Israel.”
The statement said the participants agreed “to create a Working Group that will develop proposals to engage with the members of the Arab League, the European Union and relevant international partners to closely coordinate efforts to encourage the parties to demonstrate -through policies and actions- their commitment to a two-state solution,” and “to remain vigilant regarding the current situation on the ground.”