(MENAFN - Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) EU and Arab League foreign ministers on Wednesday welcomed the Euro-Arab co-operation as a means to provide an integrated regional response to strategic challenges.
The third two-day ministerial meeting between the two sides, held in Athens, adopted a joint declaration. Greece currently holds the rotating EU Presidency.
The Ministers announced the establishment of an EU-LAS Strategic Dialogue, including exchanges on political and security matters, the exchange of regular meetings of the EU Political and Security Committee.
They stressed the importance of co-operation on humanitarian assistance issues through the exchange of information on crisis situations.
They welcomed the Kuwait Arab Summit resolution to establish an Arab Mechanism for Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance within the LAS Secretariat. The Ministers condemned all acts of terrorism, particularly the terrorist attacks that occurred in their countries recently, which aim to undermine security and stability and lead to the deaths of innocent victims.
The Ministers reaffirmed the importance of co-operation between the EU and the Arab World in the field of human rights. Ministers emphasized the importance to continue to promote and protect human rights and uphold all human rights for all.
They recalled the importance of regional energy cooperation to ensure secure and sustainable energy supply through joint international investment in that area, in accordance with their respective interest, in order to promote social and economic development and contribute to a transition to a low carbon and energy efficiency They reaffirmed their shared position that a just, comprehensive peace in the Middle East is a strategic objective and vital for the stability and international peace and security.
They reaffirmed their shared position not to recognize any changes to the pre-1967 borders other than those agreed by both parties, including with regards to Jerusalem. They welcomed the formation of the new Palestinian consensus government led by President Mahmoud Abbas in line with the Quartet principles set out in his speech on May 4, 2011, and the restoration of unity between the West Bank and Gaza Strip as an important element for reaching a two-state solution. They called upon Israel to cooperate with the new Palestinian government. They expressed their concern at the grave humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip largely caused by the closure imposed by the Occupying Power. The Ministers welcomed the Egyptian efforts that were crucial in reaching Palestinian reconciliation. They reaffirmed their concern regarding unilateral measures in violation of international law and international humanitarian law, including the settlement activities in occupied East Jerusalem, and in particular affecting the Holy Sites under the Hashemite Custodianship as reconfirmed in the agreement between HM King Abdullah II andPresident Abbas. They called for immediate cessation of all illegal acts as well as the immediate reopening of Palestinian Institutions in East Jerusalem The Ministers expressed their deep concern at the dramatic situation the Syrian crisis has reached, resulting in more than a hundred thousand casualties and increasing numbers of displaced people and refugees both inside and outside Syria. They strongly condemned the continuation of bloodshed, abuses and violations of human rights and international humanitarian law The Ministers reaffirmed their respect for Syrian sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity, and the rejection of existing foreign intervention.
They stressed the need to resolve the crisis through a genuine political process in accordance with the Final Communique of the Geneva meeting of June 30, 2012.
The declaration stressed that any election, presidential or other, conducted in the midst of a conflict and with millions of Syrians displaced from their home is an obstacle to the efforts aiming at a political solution.
The Ministers expressed appreciation to the State of Kuwait and HH the Emir of Kuwait for hosting the two donors conferences held in 2013-2014.
They reaffirmed their commitment to the unity, stability, independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Lebanon. They called on all Lebanese parties and leaders to overcome their differences and to actively pursue national unity.
They expressed their concern on the lack of progress towards resolution of the issue of the three islands of Greater Tunb, Smaller Tunb and Abu Musa and urged Iran and the UAE to continue their efforts aimed at reaching a peaceful solution in accordance with international law, either through direct negotiations or by referring the issues to the International Court of Justice. They welcomed the efforts undertaken in the framework of the democratic process in Libya and stressed their commitment to support the process of building state institutions. They expressed their concern at the political and security situation in Libya.
They reaffirmed the importance of preserving Yemen's unity, respecting its territorial integrity and rejecting any interference in its internal affairs. They welcomed the conclusions of the Yemeni National Dialogue Conference and expressed support to the Yemeni people in their aspirations for freedom, democracy and social justice, and to enable it to achieve comprehensive development. They agreed to hold their next meeting hosted by the League of Arab States in 2016.
The gathering was held in Athens at the invitation of Catherine Ashton - EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Dr. Nabil El-Araby - Secretary General of the League of Arab States, and Salaheddine Mezouar - Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Morocco.
It was hosted by Evangelos Venizelos - Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Greece.