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Middle East

October 18, 2001

Question written on 18/10/2001

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps he plans to take to help bring about a lasting ceasefire between the Israeli and Palestinian forces; and if it is his policy to support the establishment of a free Palestinia

Answered by Ben Bradshaw

The primary responsibility to bring the violence to a halt rests with both parties concerned. We are actively engaged with them to ensure that the ceasefire commitments they have made are turned into reality on the ground. We are urging them to build on the dialogue re-established by Chairman Arafat and Israeli Foreign Minister Peres, and to implement swiftly and in full the recommendations of the Mitchell Committee.The British Government support the right of the Palestinian people to establish a sovereign, independent and viable Palestinian state and look forward to early fulfilment of this right, provided there is a concomitant recognition of Israel’s right as a state, and the right of its citizens to live in peace with security. Peace between Israel and the Palestinians will only come through a political process which implements ‘land for peace’, delivers security for Israel within recognised borders, brings an end to occupation, and allows the emergence of a viable, democratic and peaceful Palestinian state committed to co-existence with Israel, and recognised and respected by Israel. Such an outcome would be a major contribution to regional stability.