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"First evidence of damage to Gaza cultural sites emerges," The Art Newspaper, Jan. 2, 2009
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FINAL JOINT STATEMENT
ISSUED AT THE CONCLUSION OF THE THIRD
MEETING OF THE ARAB-TURKISH COOPERATION FORUM AT THE LEVEL OF
THE MINISTERS OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS
Istanbul, the Republic of Turkey
June 10th, 2010
1. The Third Meeting of the Arab-Turkish Cooperation Forum at the level of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs was held in Istanbul, the Republic of Turkey on June 10th, 2010 between the League of Arab States and the Republic of Turkey.
2. The Republic of Turkey was represented by H.E. Ahmet Davuto?lu, Minister of Foreign Affairs. The League of Arab States was represented at the meeting by their excellencies, Mr. Musa Emhemed Kusa, Secretary of the General People’s Committee for Foreign Liaison and International Cooperation of the Great Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya (Presidency of the Arab League Summit), Mr. Ahmad bin Abdullah Al-Mahmoud, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs of the State of Qatar, (Preceding Presidency of the Arab League Summit), Mr.Walid Al Muallem, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Syrian Arab Republic (Preceding presidency of the Arab League Ministerial Council), Mr. Amre Moussa, Secretary General of the League of Arab States, Mr.Abdelaziz Belkhadem, State Minister of the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria, Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed bin Mohamed Al Khalifa, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Bahrain, Mr. Maitre Fahmi Said Ibrahim, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Union of the Comoros, Mr. Ahmed Aboul Gheit, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Arab Republic of Egypt, Mr. Nasser Judeh, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, Mr. Ali Al Chami, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Emigrants of the Republic of Lebanon, Ms. Naha Mint Mouknass, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, Mr. Taib Fassi Fihri, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of the Kingdom of Morocco, Mr. Yousuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah Al Ibrahim, Minister Responsible for Foreign Affairs of the Sultanate of Oman, Mr. Riad Malki, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the State of Palestine, Mr. Kamel Morjane, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Tunisia, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the United Arab Emirates, Mr. Ali Muthenna Hassan, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Yemen, Mr. Moussa Mohamed Ahmed, Ambassador to Egypt and Permanent Representative to the League of Arab States of the Republic of Djibouti, Mr. Quais Al Azzawi, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Iraq to the League of Arab States (Succeeding Presidency of the Arab League Summit & Arab League Ministerial Council), Mr. Jasem Al Mubareki, Ambassador, Head of Department for Arab Affairs (MFA) of the State of Kuwait, Mr. Mohammed Al Hussaini Al Sharif, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to Turkey and Mr. Abdalla Hamed Elazrag, Ambassador, Director General of Arab Affairs Department (MFA) of the Republic of the Sudan.
3. The Forum meeting was held in the spirit of openness and cooperation, whereby, developments in the Middle East, regional and international issues of common concern, including the initiative presented by the Secretary General of the Arab League at the Arab Summit in Sirte regarding the establishment of a regional dialogue forum, which was welcomed by H.E. Recep Tayyip Erdo?an, Prime Minister of the Republic of Turkey, in his address to the Arab Summit. Bilateral and multilateral issues regarding economic and cultural relations between Turkey and the Arab League were also extensively discussed.
4. The Participants recalled the inaugural meeting of the Forum that had taken place in Istanbul on October 11th, 2008 and as well the conclusions of the Second Arab –Turkish Cooperation Forum held in Damascus December 15th 2009, and welcomed the Forum’s facilitating impact on further expanding and deepening the relations between the Arab countries and Turkey by providing an institutional framework to promote cooperation and comprehensive consultations in all fields of mutual interest. The Forum also took note of the need for closer economic cooperation, as highlighted during the 5th Arab –Turkish Cooperation Forum, organized by Al-Iktissad Wal Aamal group in Istanbul on 10-11 June, 2010.
5. The Ministers expressed their grave concern and condemnation for the Israeli aggression against international civilian flotilla transporting humanitarian aid material to Gaza Strip while they were in the international waters of the Eastern Mediterranean Sea in the early morning of May 31st, 2010. They denounced these actions as blatant violations of international law and international humanitarian law and deeply deplored the resulting civilian casualties. In view of the importance of upholding accountability and preventing the recurrence of such actions, they supported the establishment of an independent international commission by the UN Secretary General to investigate into the incident in a credible, thorough and transparent manner, as called for by the Presidential Statement of the UN Security Council. They also welcomed the Resolution adopted by the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva to set up a fact-finding mission whose work will be complementary to the one being established in New York. In this context, they stressed the urgency of the lifting of the siege of the Gaza Strip which has proved to be counter-productive and destructive for regional peace and stability. The Arab Ministers have expressed their condolences to the Turkish people and the bereaved families of the deceased. They decided to work together in all international fora until Israel is held accountable and the siege on the Gaza Strip is lifted.
6. The Forum recognized the Qatari commitment to cover all costs with regard to legal initiatives and media coverage, aiming at exposing the Israeli crime against the Freedom Flotilla within the international community.
7. The Forum emphasized the importance of enhanced coordination between Turkey and the Arab League member states in all relevant international fora to ensure the lifting of the inhumane siege imposed on the Gaza Strip.
8. The Participants confirmed that the Arab States and Turkey share a common vision of achieving and maintaining security, stability, peace and prosperity in the Middle East. A just, comprehensive and lasting solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict on its three tracks (the Palestinian, Syrian and Lebanese) must be achieved on the basis of the relevant UN Security Council Resolutions (242, 338, 425, 426, 1497, 1515, 1701, 1850), the Principle of Land for Peace, the Madrid Conference Terms of Reference, the Arab Peace Initiative and the Road Map that would ensure the establishment of a viable, independent Palestinian State, based on June 4th, 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital, through an agreed settlement of all issues, including Jerusalem, refugees, and settlements.
Settlement activities must be completely halted in the occupied Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem, for the Palestinian-Israeli proximity talks to yield results. The Participants rejected any proposals that envisage partial or transitional solutions with regard to the Palestinian State’s borders. The Participants reiterated that the Israeli provocations and belligerency in the region, as well as the recent Israeli military orders 1649 and 1650, which make it easier to deport Palestinians without proper permits from the West Bank, are a cause for concern.
9. The participants stressed the importance of dialogue, inclusiveness and constructive engagement as a means to achieve peace, security, and stability in the region and beyond.
10. The Ministers took note of the Quartet’s Statement dated March 19th, 2010 and called for its effective engagement in the peace efforts.
11. The participants emphasized that putting an end to settlement activities in all its forms, removing barriers and restrictions, the withdrawal to the lines of September 28, 2000, in the West Bank, releasing Arab and Palestinian prisoners and detainees, lifting the blockade on the Gaza Strip are essential for providing the necessary atmosphere for the resumption of peace negotiations.
12. The Ministers emphasized the necessity of achieving immediate Palestinian reconciliation and urged the Palestinian parties to respond positively to the demands of the international community to that effect, and reiterated their support to the efforts exerted by the Arab Republic of Egypt in order to achieve this reconciliation.
13. The Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to the sovereignty, unity, independence and territorial integrity of Iraq, emphasized the importance of stability, security and prosperity of Iraq for its people, the region and the international community. The participants reiterated their support to the people and the Government of Iraq for their efforts to improve security, public order and build a secure, stable and democratic country based on rule of law and respect for human rights.
The participants reiterated their support for national reconciliation efforts and condemned all terrorist and violent acts targeting the Iraqi people. They welcomed the recently signed treaty between Iraq and the USA that provides for the withdrawal of the Coalition Forces by the end of August 2011.
The Forum welcomed the legislative elections, held in Iraq on March 7th, 2010, as an important step forward in the democratization process of Iraq. The Ministers commended the efforts to form a national coalition government as well as the reconstruction efforts in Iraq. They also reaffirmed their willingness to help the displaced persons to return to their homeland in a safe and dignified manner.
14. The Ministers reiterated that all relations in the region should be based on full respect for the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of the countries of the region and the principles of non-interference in internal affairs and good-neighbourly relations, in conformity with the Charter of the United Nations.
15. The Forum welcomed the efforts within the Union for the Mediterranean to transform the Mediterranean into an area of peace, stability, dialogue and prosperity.
16. The Forum confirmed its deep concern about the proliferation of nuclear weapons and expressed its support for the conclusions of the 2010 NPT Review Conference, which stressed the implementation of the Resolution on the Middle East, adopted by the 1995 NPT Review and Extension Conference, with the aim of establishing a zone free of nuclear weapons and all other weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East.
The Ministers also welcomed the Final Declaration of the abovementioned Conference, envisaging the convening of a conference in the year 2012, to be attended by all states of the Middle East, including Israel. They also stressed the reaffirmation of the 2010 NPT Review Conference of the importance of Israel’s accession to the Treaty and the placement of all its nuclear facilities under comprehensive IAEA safeguards.
17. Recognizing the right of all countries to develop peaceful uses of nuclear energy within the framework of the NPT and under full scope safeguards of the IAEA, the Forum is closely following the negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 and reiterates the need to reach a diplomatic solution on the nuclear issue.
Ministers welcomed, with appreciation, the Joint Declaration signed in Tehran on May 17th, 2010, by the Foreign Ministers of Iran, Turkey and Brazil on the exchange of nuclear fuel. Ministers strongly call on the international community to support the Joint Declaration and to build up on the positive atmosphere created thereafter for future comprehensive agreements on all aspects of the issue.
18. Recognizing that lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan warrants a regional framework that reflects friendship and cooperation and that regional cooperation is an indispensable pillar of any comprehensive approach implemented to address the situation in Afghanistan, the Ministers expressed their full support to the Istanbul Statement adopted at the conclusion of the Istanbul Summit on Friendship and Cooperation in the “Heart of Asia” held on January 26th, 2010, and welcomed the UN Security Council Resolution 1917, as the most comprehensive document setting out a shared vision and set of principles for regional cooperation that focuses on Afghanistan.
19. The Forum expressed its support to the efforts aiming to achieve a comprehensive solution to the situation in Darfur. The Forum welcomed the initiative led by the Arab League, the African Union and the United Nations to resolve the Darfur Crisis and expressed its support to the efforts exerted by the State of Qatar and the Greater Jamahiriya in this respect. The forum also expressed its support for the continuation of negotiations in Doha. It also reiterated its appreciation for regional and international support and called upon all Sudanese factions to respond positively to this initiative to ensure its success. The Forum expressed its support for the results of the national elections in April 2010.
The Ministers welcomed the recent reconciliation agreements signed by the Sudanese Government and different Sudanese factions under the auspices of His Highness Sheikh Hamd Bin Khalifa Al Thani, the Emir of the State of Qatar.
The Forum also welcomed the conclusions of the International Donors Conference to rebuild and develop Darfur, held in Cairo March 31st, 2010 under the joint chairmanship of Egypt and Turkey and organized under the auspices of the OIC and expresses its appreciation for the countries that pledged to provide assistance to rebuild Darfur at the said conference.
20. The Forum emphasized the importance of the preservation of the unity, security and stability of Yemen as well as non-interference in its internal affairs, and called upon all countries in the region to contribute to this objective.
21. The Forum stressed the importance of the preservation of the sovereignty, territorial integrity, political independence and unity of Somalia and expressed its grave concern over the increase in acts of piracy and armed robbery at sea against vessels off the coast of Somalia that threatens peace and security in the region. The Forum emphasized the importance of providing effective support to Somalia to address this challenge. The Forum also expressed its view that the Istanbul Conference on Somalia that took place in Istanbul from 21-23 May, 2010 has contributed to the efforts to achieve peace, security and development in Somalia.
It further welcomed the decision of the Summit of the League of Arab States held in Sirte in March 2010, to convene a conference on Boosting Early Recovery Activities For Somalia, in the next few months. It expressed its appreciation for the determination of the Arab League to build on the spirit and results of the Istanbul Conference, and to prepare its conference in full cooperation with the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia, the Republic of Turkey, the African Union, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), United Nations and the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC).
22. The Forum welcomed the agreement signed between the President of Eritrea and the President of the Republic of Djibouti under the auspices of the Emir of Qatar and the efforts of mediation exerted to find a solution for the border dispute between the two countries.
23. The Forum declared its support for a just, comprehensive and lasting settlement in Cyprus under the auspices of the good-offices mission of the UN Secretary General and on the basis of the well-established UN parameters, with a view to establishing a bi-zonal and bi-communal partnership state on the basis of political equality.
24. The two sides expressed concern at the lack of progress towards resolving the dispute over the three islands of Abu Musa, Lesser Tunb and Greater Tunb. They reiterated their support for a peaceful settlement of this dispute in accordance with international law, either through direct negotiations between the parties or by referring the matter to the International Court of Justice.
25. Underlining the need to encourage greater dialogue, understanding and respect between different cultures, the Forum reiterated its full support to the Alliance of Civilizations initiative co-sponsored by Spain and Turkey. The Ministers also welcomed the results of the Third Forum held in Rio de Janeiro on 28-29 May 2010, which, building upon the conclusions of the Istanbul Forum in 2009, marked the beginning of the implementation stage of the Alliance.
26. The Forum welcomed the role of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in enhancing dialogue among different religious affiliations, reflected in the “World Conference on Dialogue”, held in Madrid in July 2008, under the patronage of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, and King Juan Carlos of Spain.
27. The Forum reaffirmed the objective of protection of cultural heritage, the establishment of cultural centers, cooperation and enhancement of exchange programmes between cultural and educational institutions, museums, archives, media and encouraging research in the archives of Turkey and the Arab countries.
28. The Forum welcomes the initiative of H.E. Mr. Zein El Abdein, President of the Republic of Tunisia, declaring the year 2010 as the International Youth Year, which was adopted unanimously by the UN General Assembly on December 18th, 2009.
The Forum appreciates the proposals of Tunisia to host workshops on “Social Development and Eradication of Poverty”, to be held during the second half of the year 2010, as well as on “The Contribution of Women in the Political, Social and Economic Fields”, to be held in January 2011 in Tunisia, under the auspices of the First Lady of the Republic of Tunisia.
29. The Forum welcomed the expansion of trade, investment and economic relations between Turkey and the Arab League member states. In this respect, it expressed appreciation for the conclusion of free trade agreements between Turkey and Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Syria, Palestine and Tunisia as well as visa exemption agreements between Turkey and Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Syria and Tunisia.
The Forum called upon the other member states of the Arab League to conclude similar agreements with Turkey with a view to creating a zone for free movement of goods and persons.
30. The Forum reiterated its support for the establishment of a High Level Strategic Council mechanism between Turkey and Iraq, as well as between Turkey and Syria, and stressed its conviction that these mechanisms would constitute an example for the expansion of regional cooperation and economic integration.
31. The Forum welcomed the Joint Political Declaration on the Establishment of the High Level Cooperation Council among Turkey, Syria, Jordan and Lebanon, with a view to enhancing political dialogue, economic interdependence and cultural interaction. The Council aims at strengthening cooperation between these countries through developing a long term strategic partnership and it will be open to the participation of all the other brotherly and friendly countries in the region.
32. The Forum underlined the need to encourage joint investments in the Arab League member states and Turkey and to mitigate obstacles in this regard. The Arab League member states and Turkey shall support the efforts to create attractive investment conditions for businessmen and investors from both sides.
The Forum urged the Arab League member states to develop project proposals including regional partnership and cooperation projects.
33. The Forum emphasized the need for increased international cooperation to deal with the negative impact of climate change. In this respect, it expressed the desirability of a successful outcome in COP-16. It also called for enhanced cooperation in clean energy technologies to significantly reduce green house gas emissions while promoting sustainable economic and social development.
34. The Forum reiterated its interest to further increase cooperation in the economic field, including investment, trade, industry, finance, banking, tourism, energy, water, the environment and sustainable development, food security, construction, information technology and statistics.
The Forum also emphasized the importance of cooperation in the fields of science and technology.
35. The Forum welcomes the ever deepening cooperation between Turkey and the Arab countries in the fields of (oil- natural gas - electricity - renewable energy - nuclear energy for peaceful use), in this context, the Forum commends the recent steps taken by the Syrian and Turkish Governments vis-à-vis the continuation of the implementation of the Arab Natural Gas Pipeline project, anticipated to carry the Egyptian gas to Turkey via Syria. The Forum also notes the Eighth Electricity Interconnection among (Jordan, Syria, Iraq, Palestine, Lebanon, Libya, Egypt and Turkey) as it is a primary cooperation project between Turkey and the Arab world.
36. The Forum stated its intention to promote cooperation in the fields of land, air, rail and maritime transportation to further increase trade flows between the Arab League member states and Turkey. The Forum, in this context expressed its support for a possible joint railroad venture to connect the Gulf region to Europe via Turkey with a study for extending the express railroad train from Jeddah - El Madina to Istanbul.
37. The importance of improving tourism relations between the Arab League member states and Turkey were reaffirmed strongly. In this regard, the parties declared their determination to increase ties between relevant tourism bodies and institutions.
38. The Forum appreciated the efforts of the Task Force established in accordance with the directives issued by the Istanbul Ministerial meeting and adopted the Strategy and Action Plan as well as the efforts exerted by the Senior Officials Committee in their meetings in Cairo and Ankara.
39. The Forum welcomed the invitation extended by the Syrian Arab Republic to host the workshop on “Regional Security” on 7-8 July 2010, in Damascus.
40. The Forum equally welcomed the invitation extended by the Republic of Turkey to host the “Turkish-Arab Media Forum” in the second half of the year 2010.
41. The Forum also welcomed the invitation extended by the Republic of the Sudan to host the workshop on “Agriculture and Food Security”, in October 2010.
42. The Forum encourages the other member countries to express their willingness to host other workshops mentioned in the adopted Action Plan.
43. The Forum entrusted the Senior Officials to meet at the Headquarters of the Arab League in Cairo, at their convenience, to follow up the recommendations of the Forum.
44. The Forum welcomed the opening of the Mission of the League of Arab States in Ankara and expressed full support to the Mission’s activities.
45. The Forum conveyed its appreciation to the Republic of Turkey for hosting the Third Ministerial Arab-Turkish Forum Meeting and expressed its gratitude for its perfect organization and warm hospitality.
46. The Forum decided to hold its subsequent meeting in Morocco in the year 2011.