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French Version

Euro-Mediterranean Conference of Ministers of Foreign Affairs - Presidency Conclusions

(Naples, 2-3 December 2003)

Read more by downloading the complete report (.doc - 126ko)


I. INTRODUCTION

1. The VIth Conference of Euro-Mediterranean Foreign Ministers held in Naples on December 2nd and 3rd took place in a positive, constructive atmosphere against an international background casting shadows of tension, instability and insecurity in the region. In this framework, the Ministers reaffirmed their shared willingness to strengthening their partnership, thereby renewing their common adherence to the values and the objectives set out in the Barcelona Declaration. While stressing the emphasis on the Euro-Mediterranean dialogue as the key element for their respective relationship, they underlined the need for enhanced efforts at increasing its effectiveness. In this context, the Ministers also expressed awareness for the necessity to deepen the Process so as to provide it with further visibility and transparency in a bid to bringing it closer to the civil societies of the region.
2. The Ministers sent a message of common interests, shared values and solidarity among Euro–Mediterranean Partners; they reaffirmed their joint interest in reinforcing security and stability in the region, in promoting political and economic reform and in ensuring that extremism and terrorism are not allowed to get in the way of progress. They also agreed that furthering the process of dialogue and co-operation in order to improve mutual understanding is essential to the vision of the Barcelona Process, reiterating that the partnership stands as the best way of meeting the challenges and opportunities represented by security and stability, globalisation, economic reform and social development.
3. The Ministers agreed that such a vision, which has always been at the heart of the Barcelona Process, is even more relevant in the present circumstances. They also agreed that the process of enlargement of the EU on one side and the current situation in the Middle-East on the other, have given rise to a greater demand for Europe on the Southern and Eastern rim of the Mediterranean. These challenges call for a reinvigorated and renewed partnership, based on a stronger commitment both of the European Union and the Mediterranean countries to common values and objectives.
4. Recalling that the Valencia Action Plan, agreed by Foreign Ministers at their meeting in April 2002, is the most recent comprehensive set of commitments for developing the Partnership and making reference to the review of its outcome at the mid-term Ministerial meeting in Crete, the Ministers took stock of progress made and provided orientations for future work. Furthermore, they supported the idea of engaging in a thorough, open and sincere discussion within the existing bodies of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership on how best carry into effect the acquis of the Barcelona Process, aiming also at improving the contribution by the Mediterranean partners to the outline of policies and their relevant implementation.
5. The Ministers reviewed progress in particular in implementing the Partnership on three specific issues:
- The Euro-Mediterranean Parliamentary Assembly;
- The future course of FEMIP;
- The Euro-Mediterranean Foundation for the Dialogue of Cultures.
6. They agreed that achievements on these three issues will foster greater political co-operation, more focussed support for economic reform and private sector development and moves to promote inter-cultural dialogue and understanding. All three will move the focus of the partnership further into the domain of civil society, thus producing results that are relevant to ordinary man and woman.

Wider Europe-New Neighbourhood Initiative

7. The Ministers took note of the EU Wider Europe/New Neighbourhood Policy and discussed as far as the Southern neighbours are concerned, how this policy could strengthen co-operation by building on the existing Barcelona Process acquis. They noted that the policy aims to support reforms as well as regulatory and legislative approximation, particularly as regards the internal market, between the EU and Mediterranean partners, as they are ready to engage in such intensified cooperation. To develop its full potential to promote political and economic reform based on the shared values reflected in the Barcelona Declaration, the initiative will need to include credible incentives. In this regard, they acknowledged that one of the aspects of these new policies is to reinforce the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership in all its chapters as well as the joint ownership of this process with a view to fostering stability, development and democracy in the countries to the South, in the common interest of the E.U. and Mediterranean partners.

Iraq

8. A discussion on the unfolding events in Iraq and the prospects for post conflict arrangements took place. Ministers welcomed the unanimous adoption of UNSC Resolution 1511. They recalled the Union’s commitment to play a significant role in the political and economic reconstruction of Iraq, within the framework of the relevant UNSC Resolutions with the following as essential elements for success:
- an adequate security environment;
- a strong and vital UN role, which could also benefit from an early appointment of a new Special Representative to the UNSG;
- a realistic schedule for the handing over of political responsibility to the Iraqi people;
- the setting-up of a transparent multilateral donor fund to channel support from the international community which the EU also regards as an essential element for the success of the reconstruction.
The Ministers welcomed the recent agreement establishing the timeline and a programme for a rapid transfer of sovereignty to a transitional Iraqi Government and urged all parties concerned to agree on the necessary constitutional as well as the electoral arrangements. In this context, they recalled UNSC Resolution 1511 and praised its unanimous approval underlining the need of its full implementation.
9. Ministers urged all countries in the region to contribute actively to the stability of Iraq and to support its political and economic reconstruction process. Following the meeting on 2 November in Damascus among neighbouring countries of Iraq, Ministers welcomed the holding of such meetings, in consultation with the Iraqi Governing Council and Iraqi institutions, to help support the political and economic reconstruction transition process under way in Iraq, and emphasised their usefulness. Ministers also welcomed the UNSG’s initiative to hold meetings between Iraq’s neighbours and Security Council members. A prosperous, stable and sovereign Iraq, whose territorial integrity is preserved, will be essential for the stability in the region and beyond.
10. In this context, Ministers underlined the need to establish a platform for regular and substantial consultations among those members of the International Community which are engaged in Iraq and all neighbouring countries.

Middle East Peace Process

11. Ministers discussed recent developments concerning the Middle East. The were deeply concerned by the situation in the region and noted that, despite support given by the international community to the quest for a comprehensive, just and lasting solution, insufficient progress has been made by the concerned parties. They should seize the opportunity for peace set out in the Quartet Road Map.
12. Ministers recognised that there is no alternative to a swift and full implementation, in good faith by the two sides, of the Road Mad. UNSCR 1515 was seen as an encouraging support by the International Community to the endeavours by the Quartet.
13. Ministers underlined the need for both Parties to work together constructively on solutions to the conflict. They expressed their commitment to the clear objective of two States, Israel and a viable and democratic Palestinian State, living side by side in peace and security, in the framework of a comprehensive peace in the Middle East, as laid out in the Road Map. Ministers recalled the importance of the Arab Peace Initiative adopted by the Beirut Arab League Summits of 28 March 2002. They called on both parties – Israel and the Palestinian Authority – to live up to the commitments they undertook at the Aqaba summit on 4 June 2003.
14. They recalled that a comprehensive peace in the Middle East must also include Syria and Lebanon in the framework of the Madrid Principles.
15. Ministers reiterated that the fight against terrorism in all its forms remains one of the priorities of the entire International Community and that it is the duty of all countries, in particular of those in the region, to actively co-operate in the fight against terrorism and to abstain from all support, direct or indirect, to terrorist organisations.
16. It was emphasised by Ministers that the new Palestinian Government under Prime Minister Qorei must concretely demonstrate its determination in the fight against extremist violence. Decisive steps to consolidate all Palestinian security services must be taken by the new Palestinian Government, which deserves to be supported by all. Efforts to implement a lasting cease-fire were welcomed.
17. Ministers also urged the Government of Israel, in exercising its right to protect its citizens, to exert maximum effort to avoid civilian casualties and take all necessary action to ease the humanitarian and economic plight of the Palestinian people and facilitate the relief work of international donors. Israel should refrain from any action that violates international law.
18. Ministers were of the view that decisive steps must be taken to reverse the sharply deteriorating humanitarian situation in the West Bank and Gaza. It is making life increasingly intolerable for ordinary Palestinians and fuelling extremism.
19. Ministers welcomed the upcoming donor’s meeting (Ad Hoc Liaison Committee) that will take place on 10 December 2003 in Rome, as a good opportunity to discuss necessary measures and efforts by the parties and the International Community to improve the economic and humanitarian situation of the Palestinian people.
20. Strong concerns were expressed regarding the route marked out by Israel for the fence in the Occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem. The envisaged departure of the route from the “green line” prejudges future negotiations and makes the two-State solution physically impossible to implement. Continued expansion of Israeli settlements and related construction is counter-productive.
21. Ministers highlighted the importance of promoting tolerance in all countries of the Partnership, and stressed in particular the need to stand up against both anti-Semitism and Islamophobia, as well as xenophobia.
22. Ministers also reiterated that the Middle East Peace Process and the Barcelona Process are complementary, and expressed their readiness to use fully the potential of the Barcelona Process to make a positive contribution to the stabilisation of the Mediterranean region. Ministers recalled the importance of a reinvigorated cooperation within the wider region and with Mediterranean partners.
23. Initiatives from civil society on both sides were welcomed as contributions to the effort to promote rapprochement, confidence building and the search for a lasting peace.

Association Agreement

24. The Valencia Action Plan, agreed unanimously by the participants at the Valencia meeting, contains a series of activities to reinforce all areas of the Partnership. Good progress has been made on many of them. Association Agreements are now in force with Tunisia, Morocco, Israel, and Jordan and on an interim basis with the Palestinian Authority and Lebanon.
25. The Association process remains at the core of the Partnership. The Ministers confirmed commitment to encourage speeding up the ratification process of Agreements not yet in force and to ensure where necessary the early implementation of relevant provisions through interim agreements or other appropriate arrangements. The Ministers welcomed progress made in many areas on the implementation of the Agreements in force notably the regular holding of Association Councils and Committees as well as the setting up of sub-Committees such as under the Agreements with Morocco, Jordan, Tunisia. They reaffirmed the importance of completing the grid of Euro-Mediterranean Association Agreements by concluding the negotiation with Syria.

Read more by downloading the complete report (.doc - 126ko)


Brussels,12 15 2003
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