The London Meeting On Supporting the Palestinian Authority
(March 1, 2005)
On March 1, 2005, the Prime Minister of England chaired an international meeting in London in which the Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, set out to the international community his plans to build the institutions needed to underpin a future viable Palestinian state. The Quartet, World Bank, IMF, Arab League and twenty national delegations welcomed these plans and pledged moral, practical and financial support.
The central aim of the London Meeting was to help the Palestinian leadership strengthen the institutions of the Palestinian Authority. In doing so the UK and the international community has agreed also to work to support Palestinian efforts to prepare for the anticipated Israeli withdrawal from Gaza and parts of the West Bank. Strong institutions of governance, a more effective security apparatus and renewed economic development should enable the Palestinian Authority to build on the opportunity of these withdrawals and ensure they deliver real benefits to the Palestinian people.
Outputs from the London Meeting include:
The UK sees the London Meeting as part of a longer-term process of international support for the Palestinians and a contribution to helping both sides return to implementation of the Roadmap, which remains the international community's agreed path towards a lasting negotiated settlement to the Middle East Conflict.
This document sets out the political vision expressed and supported by the participants at the London Meeting, the Palestinian Authority's own plans for institutional renewal, and a set of clear commitments by the international community in support of the PA's programme.
The London meeting takes place at a moment of promise and opportunity for Palestinians and Israelis. Its purpose is to rally the international community in support of the Palestinian Authority's plans to build the institutions of a viable Palestinian state. In that way it can help to sustain the political process which is now being renewed.
Participants condemned the bomb attack in Tel Aviv on 25 February, and expressed their determination that terrorism should be brought to an end, and not allowed to sabotage the peace process. They welcomed President Abbas's commitment to bring those responsible to justice.
Participants re-affirmed their commitment to achieving a resolution of this conflict through direct negotiations leading to the goal of two states - a safe and secure Israel and a sovereign, independent, viable, democratic and territorially contiguous Palestine, living side by side in peace and security. Participants also reaffirmed their commitment to achieve a just, comprehensive and lasting settlement consistent with the Roadmap and based on UN Security Council resolutions 242, 338, and 1515.
Participants noted the continuing significance of President Bush's statement of June 2002. They also reaffirmed the importance, as noted in the Roadmap, of the initiative of Crown Prince Abdullah - endorsed by the Beirut Arab League
Summit. Participants urged all concerned to take forward this initiative.
Participants in the meeting reaffirmed their commitment to the Roadmap. They urged all parties to the conflict to respect and uphold the obligations set out there. The London Meeting will help the Palestinian Authority in this context.
Participants welcomed the important steps forward taken by both parties in recent weeks, including the important progress announced at the Summit in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, on 8 February. While participants noted that the situation on the ground remains fragile they underlined the importance of working to establish a virtuous cycle and the renewal of progress towards peace through the full implementation of the Roadmap.
The participants welcomed the sense of promise offered by a strengthened Palestinian Authority under a reinvigorated leadership. The participants also welcomed the Israeli disengagement plan as a step towards achieving the two-state vision envisaged by the Roadmap. They supported the position set out by the Quartet that withdrawal from Gaza should be full and complete and be undertaken in a manner consistent with the Road Map. The Quartet also urged both Israel and the Palestinian Authority to co-ordinate closely preparation and implementation of the withdrawal initiative. Participants reaffirmed that the disengagement plan should take place without prejudice to final status negotiations, and in accordance with international law.
The participants welcomed the meeting of Quartet Principals on 1 March. The participants reaffirmed the central role of the Quartet in carrying forward the Peace Process in direct contact with the two parties, and asked the Quartet to reflect the conclusions of the London meeting in future contacts with the two parties in co-operation with other major international players.
President Abbas outlined the Palestinian Authority's plans for the strengthening of its effectiveness and capacity. These were welcomed by the participants.
A central aim of the London Meeting was to help the Palestinian Authority to strengthen Palestinian institutions, thereby providing a sound basis for building the institutions of a future Palestinian State. Participants noted the significant progress made by the Palestinian Authority. Further work to build a more effective security apparatus, better governance, and the strengthening of the Palestinian economy, with adequate and effectively targeted international support, should improve the capacity of the Palestinian Authority to deliver real benefits to the Palestinian people across the West Bank and Gaza, and to take over successfully the territories from which Israel withdraws.
The Palestinian Authority's sincere commitment to a viable plan to meet the benchmarks of good government should open the way to donor governments providing renewed support in Palestine. It was noted that any support resulting from the meeting would be in accord with Palestinian priorities and that financial assistance would be in accord with the Palestinian Medium Term Development Plan. Participants noted that the Palestinian Authority has a number of urgent short term financing needs, and strongly encouraged the international community to help address them.
The participants in the London Meeting recognised that the implementation of the commitments made by the Palestinian Authority would constitute a major step in implementing its Roadmap commitments. At the same time participants urged and expect action by Israel in relation to its own Roadmap commitments.
The London Meeting supported and encouraged the set of steps outlined by the Palestinian Authority, and agreed steps for international support in the areas of:
The meeting welcomed the intention of the Task Force on Palestinian Reform (TFPR) and the Ad-Hoc Liaison Committee (AHLC) to establish follow-up mechanisms to give greater impetus to their activities in the areas of governance and economic development. The US will chair a steering group on security.
Participants committed to follow up in all three areas of governance, security and economic development, specifically:
Participants noted that Palestinian Authority action in certain areas required the co-operation of and facilitation by Israel. In particular, as the AHLC has noted, the revival of the Palestinian economy will depend on a significant dismantling of the system of closures and other restrictions on the movement of people and goods imposed by Israel. The follow up mechanisms will liaise with the Israeli Government, to help ensure a climate conducive (in both the long and short terms) to strengthening of the Palestinian Authority, taking into account Palestinian priorities and Israeli security needs. These mechanisms, and all international support, should be fully consistent with international law. This would include indicators, or "benchmarks", on the conditions for economic development to be developed by the World Bank in consultation with all relevant parties.
Palestinian Authority's declaration on institutional renewal
The Palestinian Authority thanks the participants in the London Meeting for this opportunity to present our vision of institutional renewal and of state building. The state building process is crucial for the Palestinian people, in order to ensure a fruitful and effective negotiation process that would lead to the end of the occupation that began in 1967 and to facilitate the emergence of a sovereign, strong, independent, territorially contiguous state that would be economically, politically and socially viable. Such a process is particularly important for a nation emerging from a long and debilitating conflict situation, such as ours, and we hope that we have found the correct path towards such an emergence.
The Palestinians seek to strengthen Palestinian democratic institutions, including:
To that end, the PA undertakes to address the following elements:
b) Strengthening the Public Sector and Civil Service
d) Basic Law/ Constitution
e) Civil Society
Our overall national security sector development and strategy is intended to create the conditions conducive to the peace process with the immediate objective of restoring internal law and order and preventing violence, among other objectives. To that end, the PA is undertaking to address the following elements:
a) Legal Framework
We have identified opportunities for progress in the following areas:
All work and progress regarding strengthening the Palestinian Authority in terms of economic development will be in the context of and in furtherance of the outcomes, recommendations, "indicators" and commitments resulting from the AHLC process and an understanding of Palestinian needs. In addition, the MTDP should provide the framework for all monetary support from the international community. To that end, the PA undertakes to address the following elements:
a) Economic governance:
1 A Country Financial Accountability Assessment is an internationally recognised means for the World Bank to assess financial accountability.
c) Responding to Israeli withdrawals
International Community Commitments
Representatives of the international community present at the meeting strongly welcomed the declaration by the Palestinian Authority, and expressed their desire to work with the PA in support of its programme. In that context, the international community made the following commitments, to be implemented in accordance with existing political relationships:
b) Strengthening the Public Sector and Civil Service
a) Legal framework
b) Command Structures
a) Short term priorities
b) Delivery of existing pledges
c) Economic Governance
d) Stimulating Private Sector Growth
e) Responding to Israeli withdrawal
The Palestinian Authority and the international community stressed their determination actively to follow up the commitments set out at the London meeting. Review of International Support Mechanisms The participants of the London Meeting underlined the importance of maximising the effectiveness of the international support mechanisms, the AHLC and the TFPR, to provide assistance and financial support to the Palestinian Authority. The participants asked the Chair of the AHLC, the World Bank and the European Commission to consider, in consultation with the Palestinian Authority and the UN, and in discussion with other members of the donor and international community, a streamlined donor co-ordination and support structure. After discussion with the AHLC and TFPR, recommendations for a reformed structure will be presented to the Quartet, as soon as possible.
Until that process is completed, the AHLC and the TFPR will ensure that these structures drive through work effectively to implement the commitments made by the Palestinian Authority and the international community.
The meeting recognised the important contribution of the TFPR and welcomed the intention of the European Commission to develop a short term strategy for action in consultation with the Palestinian Authority and members of the TFPR for the TFPR to accompany and support the PA in the implementation of commitments on governance issues made at the London Meeting and elsewhere.
This strategy will also aim to improve the way the TFPR supports the progress made by the PA towards its vision, as well as the fulfilment by the international community of its commitments of assistance. The European Commission will report its conclusions to the Quartet, via the TFPR. This work will be carried out in co-ordination with the local level task force. Economic Development
The meeting also recognised the important and continuing contribution of the AHLC in promoting Palestinian development. It welcomed the decision of the AHLC Meeting in Oslo in December that the Chair and the World Bank, as secretariat, should regularly monitor the progress made by the Palestinian Authority and Israel towards the re-creation of a positive economic environment, using a set of indicators, to be developed by the World Bank in consultation with all relevant parties, drawing on the '18 action points' described in the Bank's report, Stagnation or Revival? Israeli Disengagement and Palestinian Economic Prospects.
In the short-term, the World Bank will work with donors and the parties to enhance the AHLC's impact by accelerating activity to help ensure that economic initiatives important to a successful withdrawal are implemented rapidly. This includes exploring opportunities to promote increased private sector investment in the West Bank and Gaza. This work will be carried out in full co-ordination with local AHLC members and the co-chairs.
Participants at the meeting welcomed the intention of the AHLC Chair to call a meeting in April 2005, at which the first periodic monitoring report would be reviewed, and the results reported to the Quartet.
The US will form and lead a co-ordinating group of those countries and organisations providing significant practical support to the Palestinians in the area of security. It will meet in the region, with additional co-ordination at capital level.
The group will fulfil the objective set out by the Quartet in May 2004 to establish a US-led oversight committee on security. This group will work closely with the PA to oversee the restructuring and retraining of the Palestinian security services. Its purpose will be to help the PA fulfil all of its security-related obligations under Phase I of the Roadmap. It will also aim to achieve the goal that President Abbas set out at Sharm-el-Sheikh: "an end to all acts of violence against Israelis and Palestinians, wherever they are".
The group will assist and monitor the progress made by the Palestinian Authority towards its commitments, as well as the international community's commitment of assistance.
The group will coordinate the international provision of security assistance and report periodically to the Quartet on:
Source: Foreign & Commonwealth Office