Ministerial Declaration of the Twenty-second Annual Meeting of the Ministers for Foreign Affairs of the Group of 77

(25 September 1998, New York)

Excerpts:

Critical situation in the Middle East

Paragraph 62: The Ministers expressed their concern over the deteriorating economic and social situation of the Palestinian people as a result of the continued illegal Israeli policies and actions in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including Jerusalem, particularly settlement activities, the closure of the Palestinian territory and the withholding of Palestinian revenues. In this context, the Ministers stressed the need to preserve the territorial integrity of all of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, to guarantee the freedom of movement of persons and goods, and to respect the fundamental human rights of the Palestinian people. The Ministers reemphasized the need for international assistance to support Palestinian development efforts in the economic and social fields, and called on the international donor community to deliver the financial assistance pledged to the Palestinian Authority.

Paragraph 63: The Ministers expressed their deep concern at the stalled peace process in the Middle East and the persistence of the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian Territory, including Jerusalem, and the other Arab territories, which gravely deteriorate the living conditions of the Arab population under occupation, as well as negatively affect the national efforts to achieve sustained economic growth and sustainable development in the region. They further expressed grave concern over the escalating Israeli policies of building and expanding settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including Jerusalem and the occupied Syrian Golan, in violation of international law, relevant United Nations resolutions and the Fourth Geneva Convention, of 12 August 1949. They reaffirmed their support to the Palestinian people in their effort to achieve their inalienable rights, including their right to establish an independent state on their national soil, including Jerusalem. They also reaffirmed their support for the Middle East peace process, aimed at achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the region on the basis of Security Council resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973), and 425 (1978) and the principle of land for peace. In this context the Ministers urgently called for the implementation of the agreements reached and international support to reactivate and complete the peace process from the point where it was stopped at, emphasizing the necessity to respect all agreements, pledges and commitments reached during previous stage of the peace talks. The Ministers reaffirmed further the permanent responsibility of the United Nations towards the Question of Palestine, and called upon Israel to comply with all relevant United Nations resolutions and to put an end to its occupation of Palestinian Territory, including Jerusalem, and the other Arab territories including the Syrian Golan and South Lebanon.