|The White House
President George W. Bush
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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
June 10, 2004
G8 Statement on Gaza Withdrawal
G8 Statement: Gaza Withdrawal and the Road Ahead to Middle East Peace
The G8 welcomes the prospect of Israeli withdrawal from all Gaza settlements and from parts of the West Bank, following the Israeli Cabinet decision to endorse Prime Minister Sharon's initiative. The G8 looks forward to the implementation of this decision in 2005, recalling the Quartet statement of 4 May that it "welcomes and encourages such a step, which should provide a rare moment of opportunity in the search for peace in the Middle East." The G8 hopes that this disengagement initiative will stimulate progress towards peace in the region, the realization of Palestinian national aspirations and the achievement of our common objective of two states, Israel and a viable, democratic, sovereign and contiguous Palestine, living side by side in peace and security.
The G8 views the Quartet Roadmap as the way forward towards a comprehensive settlement and calls on all parties to abide by their obligations under the Roadmap. The G8 countries will join with others in the international community, led by the Quartet, to restore momentum on the Roadmap, to enhance humanitarian and economic conditions among the Palestinian people and to build democratic, transparent and accountable Palestinian institutions. We will also work to help ensure security and stability in Gaza and the areas of the West Bank from which Israel withdraws. We call on both sides to end all acts of violence.
In furtherance of these goals, the G8 calls upon the Quartet to meet in the region before the end of this month, engage with Israeli and Palestinian representatives and set out its plans for taking forward in practical terms its declaration of May 4.
We support and commend all efforts, including those by Egypt, to resolve critical security issues relating to Gaza, and urge that this important work continue. We urge and support the rebuilding and refocusing of Palestinian security services in accordance with the Roadmap, so that they enforce the rule of law, mount effective operations against all forms of terrorism, and report to an empowered Interior Minister and Prime Minister.
We believe the important work of the Local Aid Coordinating Committee to alleviate the humanitarian situation in Gaza and the West Bank must continue. We suggest that preparations should begin now for a meeting of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee with the aim of revitalizing the Palestinian economy. We welcome and encourage international support for the World Bank-established Trust Fund as an accountable and transparent mechanism for receipt of international assistance. We also welcome plans of the Palestinian Authority to hold municipal elections beginning at the end of the summer, and believe that the Task Force on Palestinian Reform should meet soon to assist in preparations to assure that these and subsequent elections will be fair and transparent, and serve as the building block of democratic reform.
The G8 welcomes the international conference on UNRWA in Geneva and supports close coordination between all groups involved in international assistance.