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Homepage > Publication Type > Statements > 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 Oct 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 happen soon, 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.

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
Bronisław 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 Halefoğlu 
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 
Nobel Peace Prize 1998; Northern Ireland
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 Kučan 
Former President, Slovenia
Aleksander Kwaśniewski 
Former President, Poland
Ricardo Lagos 
Former President, Chile
Zlatko Lagumdžija 
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

Former President, Germany
Baroness Williams of Crosby 
Former Cabinet Minister, UK
Ernesto Zedillo 
Former President, Mexico

Names subsequently added:

  Garret FitzGerald
  Former Prime Minister, Ireland

  Franz Vranitzky
  Former Federal Chancellor, Austria

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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