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Egypt hosts Palestinian-Israeli talks with focus on de-escalation

Communiqué affirms outcomes of Aqaba meeting, Israeli commitment to settlement freeze

By JT - Mar 19,2023 - Last updated at Mar 19,2023

Palestinians shop at a Ramadan lantern or 'fanous' stall, ahead of the holy Muslim month, in Hebron in the occupied West Bank on March 16 (AFP photo)

AMMAN — At the invitation of  Egypt, senior Jordanian, Israeli, Palestinian and US political and security officials met in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, on Sunday, in furtherance of the understanding reached in Aqaba on February 26,  2023, according to a Foreign Ministry statement. 

The five parties held thorough discussions on ways and means to de-escalate tensions on the ground between Palestinians and Israelis, in order to pave a way forward towards the peaceful settlement between the Israelis and the Palestinians, the statement said.

Towards achieving this purpose, and beginning implementation,the parties agreed to the following:

The parties reaffirmed their commitment to advancing security, stability and peace for Israelis and Palestinians alike, and recognised the necessity of de-escalation on the ground, the prevention of further violence, as well as of pursuing confidence building measures, enhancing mutual trust, creating political horizon, and addressing outstanding issues through direct dialogue. 

The Government of Israel and the Palestinian National Authority reaffirmed their joint readiness and commitment to immediately work to end unilateral measures for a period of three-six months.This includes an Israeli commitment to stop discussion of any new settlement units for four months and to stop authorisation of any outposts for six months.  

The two sides reaffirmed, in this regard, their unwavering commitment to all previous agreements between them, in particular, the legal right of the Palestinian National Authority to carry out the security responsibilities in Area (A) of the West Bank, in accordance with existing agreements, and will work together towards realising this objective. 

The two sides agreed to establish a mechanism to curb and counter violence, incitement and inflammatory statements and actions, which will report to the quintet leadership in April, in a resumed session of the meeting in Sharm El Sheikh. 

The two sides reaffirmed their commitment to all previous agreements between them, and reaffirmed their agreement to address all outstanding issues through direct dialogue. 

The parties agreed to establish a mechanism to take the necessary steps towards improving the economic conditions of the Palestinian people, per previous agreements, and to significantly enhance the fiscal situation of the Palestinian National Authority, which will report to the quintet leadership in April, in a resumed session of the meeting in Sharm El Sheikh. 

They also reiterated the commitment of upholding unchanged the historic status quo at the Holy Sites in Jerusalem, both in word and in practice, and reaffirmed in this context the importance of the Hashemite Custodianship/special role of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.  They emphasised the necessity of both Israelis and Palestinians to actively prevent any actions that would disrupt the sanctity of these sites, inter alia during the upcoming Holy Month of Ramadan, which coincides with Easter and Passover this year.

The parties reaffirmed the importance of maintaining the meetings under this format, and are looking forward to cooperating with a view to consolidating the basis for direct negotiations between the Palestinians and the Israelis, towards achieving comprehensive, just and lasting peace, and promoting cooperation and coexistence between all people of the Middle East. They will convene again in Egypt. 

The parties expressed their appreciation to the Arab Republic of Egypt for organising and hosting this meeting, as well as for its efforts to ensure it produced positive results, and for its primary role aiming to achieve a peaceful settlement of the Palestinian question and maintain calm and stability in the region. They also thanked the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and the United States of America for their crucial and significant role in reaching understandings with a view to preventing escalation and creating a horizon for peace. 

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