Global Leaders Call for Action on Arab-Israeli Settlement

Posted in Other | 05-Oct-06 | Source: International Crisis Group

Brussels/Washington/New York/London/Amman, 4 October 2006: 135 respected global leaders -- former presidents, prime ministers, foreign and defence ministers, congressional leaders and heads of international organisations -- have today joined in a call for urgent international action to comprehensively resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Their statement (full text and signatories below) says there is a “desperate need for fresh thinking and the injection of new political will” if the conflict, “with all its terrible consequences”, is ever to be settled. They say that ideally there would be a new all-in international conference to kick-start detailed negotiations, but that whether or not this can happen soon, there should be:

  • International support for a Palestinian national unity government, with an end to the political and financial boycott of the Palestinian Authority;
  • Talks between Israel and the Palestinian leadership, on both the immediate issues of mutual security and revival of the Palestinian economy, and on the core final-status political issues;
  • These talks to be mediated or sponsored by the Quartet (UN, US, EU and Russia) -- reinforced by participation of the Arab League and key regional countries -- who would also initiate talks on the outstanding issues between Israel, Syria and Lebanon.

“There is a real hunger out there for present-day political leaders to take hold of this catastrophically divisive issue and resolve it once and for all,” said Gareth Evans, President of the International Crisis Group, which organised the statement.

“It is remarkable how much immediate support there was for this statement from so many highly experienced, top-level former public sector leaders from around the world and across the political spectrum. Like the great majority of ordinary Israelis and Palestinians, they just want to get things moving now, cut through the obstacles, and put in place the elements of a sustainable peace.”

This statement is part of Crisis Group’s new global advocacy initiative, announced on 22 September, designed to generate fresh political momentum behind a comprehensive settlement following the chaos of the last few months. Other elements involve brainstorming sessions on strategy with UN, Quartet and regional experts, led by Middle East Program Director Rob Malley; a particular effort to stimulate a bipartisan rethink of US policy; task force visits to key capitals; and a continuing stream of Crisis Group reports and briefings containing detailed analysis and policy recommendations.

A detailed new Crisis Group report, The Arab-Israeli Conflict: To Reach a Lasting Peace, is scheduled for publication on Thursday, 5 October 2006.

Contacts: Andrew Stroehlein (Brussels) 32 (0) 2 541 1635
Kimberly Abbott (Washington) 1 202 785 1601

To contact Crisis Group media please click here
For a display copy of the statement and signatories in PDF format, click here

Towards a Comprehensive Settlement of the Arab-Israeli Conflict

With the Middle East immersed in its worst crisis for years, we call for urgent international action towards a comprehensive settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Everyone has lost in this conflict except the extremists throughout the world who prosper on the rage that it continues to provoke. Every passing day undermines prospects for a peaceful, enduring solution. As long as the conflict lasts, it will generate instability and violence in the region and beyond.

The outlines of what is needed are well known, based on UN Security Council resolutions 242 of 1967 and 338 of 1973, the Camp David peace accords of 1978, the Clinton Parameters of 2000, the Arab League Initiative of 2002, and the Roadmap proposed in 2003 by the Quartet (UN, US, EU and Russia). The goal must be security and full recognition to the state of Israel within internationally recognized borders, an end to the occupation for the Palestinian people in a viable independent, sovereign state, and the return of lost land to Syria.

We believe the time has come for a new international conference, ideally held as soon as possible and attended by all relevant players, at which all the elements of a comprehensive peace agreement would be mapped, and momentum generated for detailed negotiations.

Whether or not such an early conference can be convened, there are crucial steps that can and should be taken by the key players, including:

  • Support for a Palestinian national unity government, with an end to the political and financial boycott of the Palestinian Authority.
  • Talks between Israel and the Palestinian leadership, mediated by the Quartet and reinforced by the participation of the Arab League and key regional countries, on rapidly enhancing mutual security and allowing revival of the Palestinian economy.
  • Talks between the Palestinian leadership and the Israeli government, sponsored by a reinforced Quartet, on the core political issues that stand in the way of achieving a final status agreement.
  • Parallel talks of the reinforced Quartet with Israel, Syria and Lebanon, to discuss the foundations on which Israeli-Syrian and Israeli-Lebanese agreements can be reached.

Nobody underestimates the intractability of the underlying issues or the intensity of feelings they provoke. But if the Arab-Israeli conflict, with all its terrible consequences, is ever to be resolved, there is a desperate need for fresh thinking and the injection of new political will. The times demand no less.

Morton Abramowitz, Former US Assistant Secretary of State and Ambassador to Turkey and Thailand
Adnan Abu-Odeh
, Former Political Adviser to King Abdullah II and King Hussein, Jordan
Esko Aho
, Former Prime Minister, Finland
Ali Alatas
, Former Foreign Minister, Indonesia
Abdul-Kareem Al-Eryani
, Former Prime Minister, Yemen
Raúl Alfonsín
, Former President, Argentina
Lord Ashdown of Norton-sub-Hamdon
, Former UN High Representative for Bosnia & Herzegovina
Lloyd Axworthy
, Former Foreign Minister, Canada
Peter Barry
, Former Foreign Minister, Ireland
Shlomo Ben-Ami
, Former Foreign Minister, Israel
Alexander Bessmertnykh
, Former Foreign Minister, Soviet Union
Carl Bildt
, Former Prime Minister, Sweden
Valdis Birkavs
, Former Prime Minister, Latvia
James Bolger
, Former Prime Minister, New Zealand
Kjell Magne Bondevik
, Former Prime Minister, Norway
Boutros Boutros-Ghali
, Former Secretary-General, UN
Lakhdar Brahimi
, Former Foreign Minister, Algeria, and UN Special Representative
Gro Harlem Brundtland
, Former Prime Minister, Norway
Zbigniew Brzezinski
, Former National Security Advisor to the President, United States
Kim Campbell
, Former Prime Minister, Canada; Secretary General, Club of Madrid
Ingvar Carlsson
, Former Prime Minister, Sweden
Frank Carlucci
, Former Secretary of Defense, United States
Jimmy Carter
, 39th President, United States; Nobel Peace Prize 2002
Maria Livanos Cattaui
, Former Secretary-General, International Chamber of Commerce
Naresh Chandra
, Former Indian Cabinet Secretary and Ambassador to US
Claude Cheysson
, Former Foreign Minister, France
Jean Chrétien
, Former Prime Minister, Canada
Wesley Clark
, Former NATO Supreme Allied Commander, Europe
Gerard Collins
, Former Foreign Minister, Ireland
Pat Cox
, Former President, European Parliament
Jacques Delors
, Former President, European Commission
Gianni De Michelis
, Former Foreign Minister, Italy
Ruth Dreifuss
, Former President, Switzerland
Roland Dumas
, Former Foreign Minister, France
Shirin Ebadi
, Nobel Peace Prize 2003; Iran
Uffe Ellemann-Jensen
, Former Foreign Minister, Denmark
Gareth Evans
, President, International Crisis Group; Former Foreign Minister, Australia
Mark Eyskens
, Former Prime Minister, Belgium
José María Figueres
, Former President, Costa Rica
Vigdís Finnbogadóttir
, Former President, Iceland
Joschka Fischer
, Former Foreign Minister, Germany
Malcolm Fraser
, Former Prime Minister, Australia
Anil K Gayan
, Former Foreign Minister, Mauritius
Leslie H Gelb
, President Emeritus, Council on Foreign Relations, United States
Bronislaw Geremek
, Former Foreign Minister, Poland
Kiro Gligorov
, Former President, Macedonia
Richard Goldstone
, Former Prosecutor, International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia
Felipe González Márquez
, Former Prime Minister, Spain
Mikhail S Gorbachev
, Former President, Soviet Union; Nobel Peace Prize 1990
I K Gujral
, Former Prime Minister, India
Tenzin Gyatso
, 14th Dalai Lama; Nobel Peace Prize 1989
Vahit M Halefoglu
, Former Foreign Minister, Turkey
Lee Hamilton
, Former Congressman, United States; Director, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
Bob Hawke
, Former Prime Minister, Australia
Bill Hayden
, Former Governor-General and Foreign Minister, Australia
Carla Hills
, Former Trade Representative, United States
Lena Hjelm-Wallén
, Former Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Sweden
Raffi K Hovannisian
, Former Foreign Minister, Armenia
Lord Howe of Aberavon
, Former Foreign Secretary and Deputy Prime Minister, UK
John Hume
, Former First Minister of Northern Ireland; Nobel Peace Prize 1998
Lord Hurd of Westwell
, Former Foreign Secretary, UK
George Iacovou
, Former Foreign Minister, Cyprus
Anwar Ibrahim
, Former Deputy Prime Minister, Malaysia
James Ingram
, Former Executive Director, UN World Food Programme
Asma Jahangir
, Chair, Pakistan Human Rights Commission; UN Special Rapporteur
Max Jakobson
, Former Ambassador of Finland to the UN
Lionel Jospin
, Former Prime Minister, France
Marwan S Kasim
, Former Foreign Minister, Jordan
Kim Dae-jung
, Former President, Republic of Korea; Nobel Peace Prize 2000
F W de Klerk
, Former President, South Africa; Nobel Peace Prize 1993
Wim Kok
, Former Prime Minister, Netherlands
Bernard Kouchner
, Founder, Médecins Sans Frontières; Former Minister, France, and UN Special Representative
Milan Kucan
, Former President, Slovenia
Aleksander Kwasniewski
, Former President, Poland
Ricardo Lagos
, Former President, Chile
Zlatko Lagumdžija
, Former Prime Minister, Bosnia & Herzegovina
Anthony Lake
, Former National Security Advisor to the President, United States
Lee Hong-Koo
, Former Prime Minister, Republic of Korea
Ahmed Maher
, Former Foreign Minister, Egypt
Abdul Salam Majali
, Former Prime Minister, Jordan
John Major
, Former Prime Minister, UK
Barbara McDougall
, Former External Affairs Secretary, Canada
Matthew F McHugh
, Former US Congressman and World Bank Counselor
Robert McNamara
, Former Secretary of Defense, United States
Rexhep Meidani
, Former President, Albania
Najib Mikati
, Former Prime Minister, Lebanon
Mike Moore
, Former Prime Minister, New Zealand; Former Director-General, WTO
Marwan Muasher
, Former Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, Jordan
Klaus Naumann
, Former Chairman, North Atlantic Military Committee of NATO, Germany
Boyko Noev
, Former Minister of Defence, Bulgaria
Ayo Obe
, Chair, World Movement for Democracy, Nigeria
Sadako Ogata
, Former UN High Commissioner for Refugees
Lord Owen of the City of Plymouth
, Former Foreign Secretary, UK
Anand Panyarachun
, Former Prime Minister, Thailand
Andrés Pastrana
, Former President, Colombia
Lord Patten of Barnes
, Co-Chair, International Crisis Group; Former European Commissioner for External Relations
Thomas Pickering
, Co-Chair, International Crisis Group; Former US Ambassador to the UN, Russia, India, Israel, Jordan, El Salvador and Nigeria
Josep Piqué
, Former Foreign Minister, Spain
Surin Pitsuwan
, Former Foreign Minister, Thailand
Yevgeny Primakov
, Former Prime Minister, Russia
Jorge Quiroga
, Former President, Bolivia
Augusto Ramírez Ocampo
, Former Foreign Minister, Colombia
Fidel V Ramos
, Former President, Philippines
Poul Nyrup Rasmussen
, Former Prime Minister, Denmark
Abdur-ra’uf Rawabdeh
, Former Prime Minister, Jordan
Malcolm Rifkind
, Former Foreign Secretary, UK
Lord Robertson of Port Ellen
, Former Defence Secretary, UK, and NATO Secretary-General
Mary Robinson
, Former President, Ireland, and High Commissioner for Human Rights
Michel Rocard
, Former Prime Minister, France
Petre Roman
, Former Prime Minister, Romania
Adam Daniel Rotfeld
, Former Foreign Minister, Poland
Nafis Sadik
, Former Executive Director, UN Population Fund
Mohamed Sahnoun
, Former Algerian Ambassador; UN Special Adviser
Ghassan Salamé
, Former Culture Minister, Lebanon
Salim Ahmed Salim
, Former Secretary General, OAU, and Prime Minister, Tanzania
Jorge Sampaio
, Former President, Portugal
Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada
, Former President, Bolivia
Mario Soares
, Former President, Portugal
Stephen Solarz
, Former Chair, Africa & Asia Subcommittees, US Congress
Cornelio Sommaruga
, Former President, International Committee of the Red Cross
George Soros
, Chairman, Open Society Institute
Pär Stenbäck
, Former Foreign Minister, Finland
Thorvald Stoltenberg
, Former Foreign Minister, Norway
HRH El Hassan bin Talal
, Founder, Arab Thought Forum, Jordan
Leo Tindemans
, Former Prime Minister, Belgium
Alex S Trigona
, Former Foreign Minister, Malta
Desmond Tutu
, Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town; Nobel Peace Prize 1984
Cassam Uteem
, Former President, Mauritius
Hans van den Broek
, Former Foreign Minister, Netherlands, and European Commissioner for External Relations
Ed van Thijn
, Former Minister and Mayor of Amsterdam, Netherlands
George Vassiliou
, Former President, Cyprus
Hubert Védrine
, Former Foreign Minister, France
Richard von Weizsäcker
, Former President, Germany
Baroness Williams of Crosby
, Former Cabinet Minister, UK
Ernesto Zedillo
, Former President, Mexico

Organized by Crisis Group with assistance from the Club of Madrid and placed with support from the Radcliffe Foundation, Iara Lee & George Gund Foundation and Hamza Al Kholi.