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'Performance and hope' needed for Quartet success

'Performance and hope' needed for Quartet plan to succeed, Annan says

17 September – Following what he termed a "historic" meeting of members of the diplomatic Quartet on the Middle East, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today outlined their agreed peace plan, which aims to achieve a final settlement by 2005, but cautioned that it would require both hope and action to succeed.

Addressing a press conference in New York following the meeting (See transcript below) , Mr. Annan said Quartet members agreed that the overall plan must deal with political, economic, humanitarian and institutional dimensions, spelling out reciprocal steps to be taken by the parties at each phase. "In short, we need a process that is both performance-driven and hope-driven," he said. "Because we need both: performance and hope."

Mr. Annan noted that the Quartet had agreed to set up a mechanism to monitor the compliance of each side with performance benchmarks established as part of the three-phase implementation roadmap.

"The first phase will see Palestinian security reform, Israeli withdrawals, and support for Palestinian elections to be held in early 2003," he said, adding that work on humanitarian issues would also commence shortly. In the second phase, during 2003, "our efforts should focus on the option of creating a Palestinian State with provisional borders and based on a new constitution, as a way station to a permanent status settlement."

In the final phase, from 2004 to mid-2005, "we envision Israeli-Palestinian negotiations aimed at a permanent status solution."

The Secretary-General stressed that both the Palestinian reform effort and political progress must include Israeli measures to improve the lives of Palestinians, namely, "to allow the resumption of economic activity and the movement of goods, people and essential services; to ease or lift curfew and closures; Israel must also return the tax revenues owed to the Palestinian Authority; and all Israeli settlement activity in the occupied territory must stop."

The Palestinians, he said, must work with the United States and regional partners to reform their security services and combat terrorism, while both sides should work to allow policing and law and order for the civilian population of the West Bank and Gaza.

"The Quartet remains committed to the search for a just, lasting and comprehensive settlement in the Middle East, including the Israeli-Syrian and the Lebanese-Syrian tracks," he stressed.

Asked how the parties could have a measure of hope considering past experience, Mr. Annan said that the Quartet would be steadfast in its support, "but in the end, real success will depend on the will and the actions the parties take - but we are going to stick with them and monitor performance."

To a question on why progress has been so slow, Mr. Annan explained that the issue at stake is very complex. "It is not a situation where the Quartet can come in and impose a solution," he said, noting that today's meetings had included the participation of Arab leaders as well as officials from the two sides. "This is an issue where you need to move with the parties and you need to get regional players working with you."

"Anything we are going to achieve will depend on the political will and the actions of the parties," he emphasized.

*************************


New York, 17 September 2002 - Secretary-General's opening comments at press conference following Quartet meeting on the situation in the Middle East and the Question of Palestine [revised]

There is a communiqué of today's meeting. You should be receiving the communiqué later.

What I want to do instead of summarizing the communiqué as we did the last time, is to give you the highlights of what we agreed on.

The Quartet is continuing to work with the parties and key regional actors on an implementation roadmap, to achieve final and comprehensive settlement within three years.

Comprehensive security performance is essential, as is an end to the morally repugnant violence and terror. But we are all in agreement that the overall plan must address political, economic, humanitarian and institutional dimensions. It should spell out reciprocal steps to be taken by the parties in each of the phases. In short, we need a process that is both performance-driven and hope-driven. Because we need both: performance and hope.

The implementation roadmap will be in three phases. Progress between each phase will be based on the parties' compliance with performance benchmarks to be monitored and assessed by a mechanism of the Quartet.

The first phase will see Palestinian security reform, Israeli withdrawals, and support for Palestinian elections to be held in early 2003. There will also be an Ad Hoc Liaison Committee meeting in November to review the humanitarian situation and identify priority areas, including the reform process, for development assistance in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

In the second phase, during 2003, our efforts should focus on the option of creating a Palestinian state with provisional borders and based on a new constitution, as a way station to a permanent status settlement.

In the third phase (from 2004 to mid-2005), we envision Israeli-Palestinian negotiations aimed at a permanent status solution.

Both the Palestinian reform effort and political progress must include Israeli measures to improve the lives of Palestinians: to allow the resumption of economic activity and the movement of goods, people and essential services; to ease or lift curfew and closures; Israel must also return the tax revenues owed to the Palestinian Authority; and all Israeli settlement activity in the occupied territory must stop.

The Palestinians must work with the US and regional partners to reform their security services and combat terrorism, and both sides should work to allow policing and law and order for the civilian population of the West Bank and Gaza. Israelis and Palestinians should re-establish security cooperation.

The Quartet is continuing to discuss the timing and modalities for an international conference.

As you know, the Quartet also had two other meetings this morning: and I think I have indicated that to you. The Quartet remains committed to the search for a just, lasting and comprehensive settlement in the Middle East, including the [Syrian-Israeli and the Lebanese-Israeli] tracks.

I would now open the floor for questions, but I have one appeal. If we can focus on the Israeli-Palestinian issue, and then at the end when we have time if we can talk about other things on your mind. So the floor is open.

ENDS

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