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OPT: Jack Straw calls for early publication of Quartet roadmap

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Commenting as meetings of the Quartet, Task Force and Ad Hoc Liaison Committee (AHLC) drew to a close on 20 February, Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said:
"There is an urgent need for progress toward a resolution of the Israeli/Palestinian dispute. I am glad that the UK has been able to contribute to international efforts again this week by hosting meetings aimed at building the basis for peace.

"The Quartet, Task Force on Reform and AHLC meetings address the essential requirements for a renewed peace process: publication of the roadmap, on which Quartet envoys are engaged; Palestinian reform, on which the Task Force has built on progress made at last month's London Conference; and economic support for the Palestinian Authority and people, on which the AHLC has a vital co-ordinating and facilitating role.

"This week we have received serious and detailed commitments from the Palestinian representatives on the appointment of a Prime Minister and the development of a new constitution. Both are in the interests of the Palestinian people and we welcome them warmly. I am committed to continuing our own work with the Palestinians on both, where we can underpin and add value to the Quartet effort.

"We have been reminded of the crucial importance to the Palestinian population of the EU's continuing assistance to the Palestinian Authority, which I wholeheartedly support. The dire economic and humanitarian situation Palestinians face is no basis for peace. It must be tackled both by donor assistance and co-operation between the parties themselves. Israel has a particular responsibility to improve the humanitarian situation and facilitate Palestinian reform.

"And I have made clear the importance which the British Government attaches to the publication, without further delay, of the roadmap agreed by the Quartet on 20 December. Both people need to see a way forward out of the fear and misery they suffer today.

"The roadmap sets out that way forward. I call on both leaderships to accept and implement it. With every day which passes more people die; relations between the two peoples worsen; and the physical basis for a two-state solution is further eroded."

Notes for Editors

1. Three meetings at Lancaster House this week focused on Palestinian reform efforts: the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee (18-19 February); the Quartet envoys (US, UN, EU, Russia, 19 February); and the Task Force on Palestinian Reform (19-20 February).