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Middle East: Peace Negotiations

Volume 461: debated on Thursday 21 June 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports she has received on recent progress of the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative. (144025)

The Arab League’s re-endorsement of the 2002 Beirut Declaration at the Arab Summit in Riyadh is a welcome step. It offers the prospect of normal relations between Israel and the Arab world. The Arab League has a key role to play in promoting reconciliation between the Israelis and Palestinians and moving forward the peace process.

In its statement on 30 May, the Quartet (EU, US, UN and Russia) noted its positive meeting with the Arab League in Sharm al-Sheikh on May 4, and looked forward to continued engagement with the Arab states. It welcomed the intention of the Arab League to engage Israel on the 2002 Arab League initiative and Israeli receptiveness to such engagement. The Quartet encouraged continued and expanded Arab contacts with Israel, and Israeli action to address concerns raised in the April 18 Arab League Follow-up Committee meeting, including a cessation of settlement expansion and the removal of illegal outposts, as called for in the Roadmap.

Israeli Foreign Minister Livni met President Mubarak and the Egyptian and Jordanian Foreign Ministers in Cairo on 10 May to discuss subsequent action. The Quartet principals agreed to meet in the region with members of the Arab League to follow up on the Arab Peace Initiative and efforts to advance the regional track.

We support the Arab League’s engagement with the parties and welcome the meetings since the re-endorsement of the Arab League Initiative. We hope that this will create confidence between the parties to re-start negotiations.