'Quartet' statement, 2002

Statement read by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan on behalf of the United States, the European Union, Russia and the United Nations (the "Quartet"), following a meeting on the Middle East situation

10 April 2002

We reviewed the escalating confrontation in the Middle East and agreed to coordinate our actions to resolve the current crisis.

We express our great concern about the present situation, including the mounting humanitarian crisis and the growing risk to regional security.

We reiterate our shared condemnation of violence and terrorism, express our deep distress at the loss of innocent Palestinian and Israeli life, and extend our deepest sympathy to the families of those killed and injured.

Believing that there has been too much suffering and too much bloodshed, we call on the leaders of Israel and the Palestinian Authority to act in the interests of their own people, the region and international community and to immediately halt this senseless confrontation.

In this regard we express our grave concern about the most recent attacks from Lebanon across the U.N. determined blue line.

The Quartet calls on all parties to respect the blue line, halt all attacks, and show the utmost restraint. The conflict should not be allowed to spread and threaten regional security and stability.

The U.N., EU and Russia express their strong support for the Secretary of State Powell's mission, and urge Israel and the Palestinian Authority to cooperate fully with his mission and with their continuing efforts to restore calm and resume the political process.

We reiterate that there is no military solution to the conflict and call on the parties to move towards a political resolution of their disputes based on U.N. Security Council resolution 242 and 338, and the principle of land for peace - which formed the basis for the Madrid Conference of 1991.

We reaffirm our support for the objective expressed by President Bush and spelled out in U.N. Security Council Resolution 1397 of two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side within secure and recognised borders.

We warmly welcome Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah's peace initiative as endorsed in Beirut by the Arab League, as a significant contribution towards a comprehensive peace including with Syria and Lebanon.

To enable progress towards our shared goals, we reaffirm that Security Council resolution 1402 must be fully implemented immediately, as called for in U.N. Security Council resolution 1403.

We call on Israel to halt immediately its military operations. We call for the immediate, meaningful ceasefire and an immediate Israeli withdrawal from Palestinian cities, including Ramallah, specifically including Chairman Arafat's headquarters.

We call on Israel to fully comply with international humanitarian principles and to allow full and unimpeded access to humanitarian organisations and services. We call on Israel to refrain from the excessive use of force and undertake all possible efforts to ensure protection of civilians.

We call on Chairman Arafat, as the recognised elected leader of the Palestinian people to undertake immediately the maximum possible effort to stop terror attacks against innocent Israelis. We call on the Palestinian Authority to act decisively and take all possible steps within its capacity to dismantle terrorist infrastructure, including terrorist financing, and to stop incitement to violence.

We call on Chairman Arafat to use the full weight of his political authority to persuade the Palestinian people that any and all terrorist attacks against Israelis should end immediately; and to authorise his representatives to resume immediately security coordination with Israel.

Terrorism, including suicide bombs, is illegal and immoral, has inflicted grave harm to the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people and must be condemned as called for in U.N. Security Council resolution 1373.

We call on Israel and the Palestinian Authority to reach agreement on ceasefire proposals put forward by General Zinni without further delay. We commend the efforts of General Zinni to date to achieve this objective.

The Quartet stands ready to assist the parties in implementing their agreements in particularly the Tenet security work plan and the Mitchell recommendations including through a third party mechanism as agreed to by the parties.

We affirm that the Tenet and Mitchell plans must be fully implemented including an end to all settlement activity. We are firm that there must be immediate parallel and accelerated movement towards near term and tangible political progress and that there must be a defined series of steps leading to permanent peace involving recognition, normalisation and security between the sides and an end to Israeli occupation and an end to the conflict. This will allow Israel to enjoy enduring peace and security and the Palestinian people to realise their hopes and aspirations in security and dignity.

In support of these objectives, we call on the international community, particularly the Arab states to preserve, strengthen and assist the Palestinian Authority including through efforts to rebuild its infrastructure, security and governance capacity.

We call also on the donor community and the international financial institutions to renew their commitment to provide urgent humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian people and to assist in economic and institutional reconstruction. We pay tribute to the courageous efforts of the humanitarian agencies.

We agreed on the need to keep the situation in the Middle East under review by the Quartet at the principals' level through regular consultations. Our special envoys will continue their efforts on the ground to assist the parties in reaching an end to confrontation and a resumption of political negotiations.