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OSLO COUNCIL - Global Solidarity

18-19 May 1998


The Council of the Socialist International, meeting in Oslo on 18/19 May 1998, having considered the very serious conditions prevailing in the Middle East as a result of the deadlock in the peace process:

Expresses its deep concern over the lack of progress in all tracks of the peace process, which can lead to an escalation of further violence;

Confirms its strong conviction that the peace process must base itself on the principles and the foundation of international legitimacy as embodied in UN Security Council resolutions 242, 338 and 425, as well as the principles stated on the 1991 Madrid Peace Conference and in the Oslo Accords, foremost among which is the principle of Land for Peace;

Reaffirms that these principles and agreements, aiming at a permanent and stable peace, provide for Israeli withdrawal from Palestinian and other occupied Arab territories, allowing the Palestinians to practise their inalienable right to self-determination and the setting-up of an independent Palestinian state, as well as the principle of respect for the right of all the peoples in the region to live in peace and security and channel their efforts to national construction and development;

Supports the present efforts by the USA, EU, Egypt, Norway and others to assist the parties in implementing their commitments, including re-deployment, the release of prisoners, the safe passage between Gaza and the West Bank, the operation of Gaza Airport and the construction of Gaza Port, in accordance with the Oslo Accords, so that final status negotiations can be entered upon to resolve problems concerning Jerusalem, the settlements, refugees and borders;

Reiterates that Israel has a special responsibility to bring the peace process back on track and calls upon the Israeli government to desist from unilateral practices, particularly those of collective punishment, which undermine mutual confidence, and to bring the settlement policies that aim at establishing a de facto situation in the occupied territories, to an immediate close;

Condemns terrorism, the killing of civilians, men, women and children, in the strongest possible terms. The Palestinian Authority must spare no effort to destroy terrorism and isolate the terrorists. It is also the obligation of the Israeli government to put an end to extremist activities. It is not only human lives that are at stake, but the peace process itself;

Underlines the importance of granting aid to the Palestinian Authority and of extending every kind of assistance to the Palestinian people in order to improve their living conditions;

Calls on Israel and Syria to resume negotiations on the Syrian track on the basis of UN Resolutions and the Terms of Reference of the Madrid Conference. UN Resolution 425 on the Lebanese track should also be implemented.

Reiterates that the European Union, in a continent neighbouring the Middle East - with its political potential and current economic support - should play an increased role in the search for peace.

Reasserts its conviction that no real and lasting peace in the region will be established without the Kurdish issue being taken into account. It is therefore necessary for the international community to focus on this issue and to put pressure on the governments concerned to start profound democratic reforms and to favour political, negotiated, peaceful and fair solutions guaranteeing the legitimate rights of the Kurds within the borders of each country concerned.

From Oslo, the cradle of the first Oslo Accord and Declaration of Principles, the Council of the Socialist International appeals to the international community and all peace-loving forces to invigorate and consolidate their efforts in pursuit of a lasting peace in the Middle East.