Global Leaders Call for Action on Arab-Israeli Settlement

Brussels / Washington / New York / London / Amman, 4 October 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.

Contacts: Andrew Stroehlein (Brussels) +32 (0) 2 541 1635
Kimberly Abbott (Washington) +1 202 785 1601

To contact Crisis Group media please click here
For a display copy of this statement and signatories in PDF format, click here

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.