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Global Leaders Call for Action on Arab-Israeli Settlement

Global Leaders Call for Action on Arab-Israeli Settlement

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 happensoon, 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

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 LagumdÅija, 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.

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