NEW YORK — Saudi Arabia, Arab League and the European Union, in cooperation with Egypt and Jordan, launched the Peace Day Effort aimed to revitalize the Middle East peace process and urged countries around the world to join the initiative.
Around 50 foreign ministers from around the world attended the ministerial meeting held at the UN headquarters in New York, on the sidelines of the 78th session of the UN General Assembly. In a joint statement issued at the end of the meeting, the ministers underlined the need to revitalize a meaningful peace process to achieve the Two State Solution, in accordance with international law, UNSC resolutions, the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative and the 2013 EU peace supporting offer.
The Peace Day Effort, endorsed by the meeting, seeks to produce a “Peace Supporting Package” that will maximize peace dividends for the Palestinians and Israelis once they reach a peace agreement. It seeks to produce detailed programs and contributions, conditional upon achieving a final status agreement, that will support the peace, and ensure that all peoples of the region reap its benefits. The efforts seek to ensure Peace Day, which is a day of opportunity and promise and making earnest efforts to reach it.
The meeting noted that Israeli-Palestinian peace continues to be elusive. Ever since the peace process was launched in Madrid in 1991, there were no real horizons for achieving the Two-State Solution. Signed agreements, including the Oslo accords, have not been fully honored. The occupation continues and with it come a number of complications and difficulties that lead the parties further away from a possible agreement. The situation on the ground is proving to be untenable and the status quo is becoming impossible to accept, all the more in an international situation plagued with conflicts. It was noted that ignoring the need to revitalize the peace process is helpful neither to the parties nor to the present and future of the Middle East.
The renewed effort is based on the urgent need to preserve the Two-State Solution ensuring a viable sovereign independent and contiguous Palestinian state based on the 4 June 1967 lines; respect for international law, including international humanitarian law and human rights; respect for and full implementation of UNSC Resolutions related to the Palestinian question, and upholding unchanged the Status Quo of Jerusalem’s Holy Sites, with emphasis on the Hashemite Custodianship.
The Peace Day Effort builds, among others, on the Arab Peace Initiative (API), which was adopted by the Arab States to lay out their vision for a comprehensive regional peace and its terms and requirements. Based on the full withdrawal from all Palestinian and Arab territories occupied since 1967 in exchange for full normalization, the API was later endorsed by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and welcomed by the European Union and the United Nations. The Peace Day Effort also builds on the 2013 EU offer to provide an “unprecedented package of political, security and economic support” to both parties in the context of a final status agreement.
The initiators of this effort aim to produce a comprehensive “Peace Supporting Package.” This package is to be rolled out immediately after “Peace Day,” when the parties reach a peace agreement on the basis of the Two-State Solution. Such a wide-ranging package will help sustain the peace, and will produce peace dividends for all.
The meeting launched Working Groups charged with elaborating the components of the comprehensive “Peace Supporting Package”. All participants were invited to contribute to the Working Groups. The Working Groups will focus on identifying substantive elements of the “Peace Supporting Package.”
The Working Groups will organize conferences, symposia, and studies to produce detailed realistic and feasible components of the “Peace Supporting Package”. These Working Groups include a Political and Security Working Group, Economic and Environmental Working Group, and a Human Dimension Working Group.
The participants in the Peace Day Effort will determine when the work of the Working Groups has progressed sufficiently to combine various contributions into the “Peace Supporting Package.” Progress will be assessed every three months. The first assessment will take place in December 2023. The aim of the Working Groups is to conclude their work and to have the “Peace Supporting Package” ready for presentation by September 2024, the statement pointed out.
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