Roadmap Seeks End of Conflict by 2005


By Mustapha Karkouti

Gulf News
April 17, 2003

The British Foreign Office has leaked the roadmap draft document to the public by placing it the House of Commons library, in what seems to be a deliberate act by the government to pre-empt any attempt to further delay its formal release.

The roadmap, composed by the so called quartet which includes the U.S., United Nations, the European Union and Russia, has been delayed twice in the past five months by the U.S. administration at Israel's request. This draft document, officials say will be "topped and tailed" - but not substantially altered - within the next two weeks. U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell has said the it will not be changed or altered.

The text is described as a performance-based and goal-driven roadmap - with clear phases, time-lines, target dates and benchmarks - aiming at progress through reciprocal steps by the two parties in the political, security, economic, humanitarian and institution-building fields, under the direct auspices of the Quartet.The destination is a final and comprehensive settlement of the Israel-Palestinian conflict by 2005, as presented in President George Bush's speech of June 24 and welcomed by the EU, Russia, and the UN in the July 16 and September 17 Quartet Ministerial statements.

A two state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will only be achieved through an end to violence and terrorism, when the Palestinian people have a leadership acting decisively against terror and able to build a practicing democracy based on tolerance and liberty, and through Israel's readiness to do what is necessary for a democratic Palestinian state to be established, and a clear, unambiguous acceptance by both parties of the goal of a negotiated settlement as described in the text.

The Quartet will facilitate implementation of the plan, starting in first phase, including direct discussions between the parties. The plan establishes a realistic time-line for implementation. However, as a performance-bas-ed plan, progress will depend upon the good faith of the parties, and their compliance with each of the obligations.

Should the parties perform their obligations rapidly, "progress within and through the phases may come sooner than indicated in the plan. Non-compliance with obligations will impede progress." A settlement will result in "the emergence of an independent, democratic, and viable Palestinian state living side by side in peace and security with Israel and its other neighbours."

The settlement will resolve the Israel-Palestinian conflict and end the occupation that began in 1967, based upon the foundations on the Madrid Conference, the principle of 'land for peace', United Nations Security Council Resolutions 242, 338 and 1397, agreements previously reached by the parties, and the initiative of Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah - endorsed by the Beirut Arab League Summit - calling for acceptance of Israel as a neighbour living in peace and security, in the context of a comprehensive settlement. "This initiative is a vital element of international efforts to promote a comprehensive peace on all tracks, including the Syrian-Israeli and Lebanese-Israeli tracks," the draft says.

The Quartet will meet regularly at senior levels to evaluate implementation of the plan. In each phase, the parties are expected to perform their obligations in parallel, unless otherwise indicated.

More Information on Israel, Palestine, and the Occupied Territories
More Information on the "Peace Process"

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