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LISBON COUNCIL - Socialist International's 50th Anniversary

29-30 June 2001


Original: French

The Socialist International, which includes among its members the Labour Party and Meretz in Israel, and Fatah in Palestine, has for many years been involved in ongoing attempts to reach peace through dialogue, particularly through the activities of its Middle East Committee (SIMEC), currently chaired by Thorbjørn Jagland, thus playing a leading international role.

Faced with the dramatic situation which has existed in the Middle East for a number of months, the SI adopted a new initiative for peace and sent a mission headed by François Hollande, on behalf of the SI Executive, to meet with the leaders of the above-mentioned parties. This mission was charged with examining the conditions in which President Arafat and Foreign Affairs Minister Shimon Peres would accept participating together in the Council’s meeting in Lisbon in order to strengthen the possibilities of reinitiating the dialogue so as to prepare a return to the peace negotiations.

The conditions of this reinitiation of dialogue are outlined in the Mitchell report, which the SI fully supports. Participation by leading European representatives in the Commission’s work has without doubt contributed to its success and should be brought to bear in the future.

It is legitimate that both the Israeli and the Palestinian people benefit from total security, whose evaluation must be subject to guarantee. True and full security may, however, only be consolidated if in a series of rapid stages the range of requirements defined within the text of the Mitchell report are concretely implemented, including an end to violence, the freezing of settlements and a halt to incitement.

The Socialist International believes that the urgent resumption of dialogue is the first condition for the re-establishment of peace. The SI also welcomes the will manifested today in this session by Fatah, the Labour Party and Meretz in having chosen the framework and values of the International to re-start these relations.

The SI will play its part in the efforts to reach a just and lasting peace. To this end, the SI has decided to establish a permanent contact group to support dialogue and negotiations, whose members are François Hollande, First Secretary of the French Socialist Party and member of the SI Executive; Thorbjørn Jagland, leader of the Norwegian Labour Party and Chair of the Middle East Committee (SIMEC); and Luis Ayala, Secretary General of the Socialist International,.

The SI reaffirms its conviction that a just, lasting and global peace can only be based on respect for international law and UN Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338, summarised in the principle of land for peace. This peace must definitely guarantee security for all parties and provide a strong contribution to the economic and social development necessary for all the peoples in the region. This peace cannot be conceived of without the establishment of a viable and sovereign Palestinian state.