Israel: EU Representations

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 3:06 pm on 17 October 2001.

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Photo of Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean Minister of State (Middle East), Foreign & Commonwealth Office, Minister of State (Trade), Department of Trade and Industry, Minister for Trade and Investment and Deputy Leader of the House of Lords (also Department of Trade and Industry), Minister of State (Trade and Investment) Deputy Leader of the House of Lords (also FCO), Deputy Leader of the House of Lords 3:06, 17 October 2001

My Lords, I agree that both sides are suffering considerably in the current situation. Your Lordships may know that barely a week goes by without our learning of more families being ripped apart by violence. Often those who suffer the violence are young people. I make no discrimination on either side in that regard; the death of a young person--indeed the death of any person--is equally to be regretted on whatever side of an argument such death may occur. But we must do our best, even in these difficult circumstances, to look forward. In fact, violence in the area had decreased in the past couple of weeks or so, certainly since 7th October. It is the view not only of Her Majesty's Government, but also of our colleagues in the United States and the European Union, that the recommendations of the Mitchell committee, which cover many of the points at issue, are where we must focus our diplomatic effort. They were published in May this year. They were followed by the Tenet accord, published in June this year, which exhorts both Israelis and Palestinians to implement a security work plan to enforce the declared ceasefire. It is on Mitchell and Tenet that we should be directing our efforts.