Tunis declaration issued at end of 16th session of Arab Summit - May 22-23, 2004
Here is the full text of Tunis declaration issued at the end of the meetings of the 16th session of the Arab Summit, held on the 22-23 in Tunis:
We, Leaders of the Arab countries, meeting at the Arab League council at the level of the 16th ordinary session of the summit held in Tunis, capital of the Tunisian Republic, on the 2nd and 3rd of Rabia 2, year 1425 of the Hijri calendar corresponding to May 22-23 2004:
- Reaffirming our attachment to the founding principles of the Arab League and the objectives of its charter, as well as the noble humanitarian values consecrated by the United Nations' charter and all provisions of international legality.
- Taking into account the new world changes and the challenges and stakes they generate.
- Committed to continued efforts aimed at strengthening the solidarity of the Arab Nation and its cohesion and consolidate the Arab ranks, in the service of our fundamental causes.
Declares the following:
1.1- The commitment of all international parties to materialize the principles on which rest the international legality and resolutions related to the Arab-Israeli conflict, without excluding the legal references of the peace process, constitutes the basis of a just, comprehensive and lasting settlement to this conflict, in accordance with the Arab peace initiative and in implementation of the "road map".
The international community should join its efforts with a view towards guaranteeing the required protection to the Palestinian people, in the face of the continuing massacres and deportations they are enduring, and putting an end to the attacks perpetrated by Israel against Palestinian political leaders and the siege imposed on the Palestinian people and their leadership, as well as the operations targeting civilians without distinction. Combining all these efforts is likely to pave the way for the resumption of peace talks and to enable the brotherly Palestinian people to recover their legitimate rights, in the forefront of which the establishment of their independent state with East -Quds East as its capital, as well as the evacuation of all Arab occupied territories, including the occupied Syrian Golan and the Lebanese farms of Chabâa.
1.2- The achievement of these legitimate targets is likely to provide propitious conditions for setting up confidence and for establishing a just, lasting and comprehensive peace in the region convening an international conference aimed at ridding the Middle-East region including Israel of the weapons of mass destruction. The achievement of these objectives is likely to lay down the bases of a new era of under standing based on attachment to peace as a strategic choice and enable the Arab Nation and all countries in the region to focus their efforts on taking up the challenges they are facing and devote themselves to the development process.
1.3- The commitment of the Arab community to back up the Iraqi territorial integrity, respect the sovereignty, independence and national unity of sisterly Iraq and the call of the security council to give a central and active role to the United Nations in Iraq in order to put an end to the occupation and prepare for the stages of power transfer to the Iraqi people.
Entrusting an Arab troika (the current chairmanship, the previous chairmanship and the next chairmanship of the summit and the secretary-general of the Arab League) to start necessary contacts in order to guarantee the follow-up of the evolution of the situation in Iraq.
1.4- The reaffirmation of Arab solidarity with sisterly Syria in the face of the American sanctions and the need to give priority the logic of dialogue and understanding in settling differences between states so as to preserve the region in this critical juncture from further tension and instability.
1.5- The reaffirmation of the sovereignty sisterly United Arab Emirates on its three islands and the support to all peaceful steps and initiatives likely to restore this sovereignty.
1.6- The reaffirmation of the Arab states' solidarity with the sisterly Republic of Sudan and their keenness to preserve its territorial integrity and sovereignty and reinforce all peace initiatives started by the Sudanese government with the international and regional parties.
1.7- The reaffirmation of the unity and sovereignty of the sister Republic of Somalia and the support of efforts aimed at achieving national conciliation and peace and stability in this country.
1.8- The keenness to confirm the national unity of sisterly United Republic of Comoros, preserve its territorial integrity and its sovereignty and back all peace efforts exerted in this country.
We also assert our firm resolve to:
2.1-Materialize the will to help the system of Arab joint action advance, in light of the Tunis summit decision to revise the Arab league's charter and modernize its action methods and its specialized institutions and in light of the various Arab initiatives included in the proposals of the Secretary General and on the basis of a consensual vision and a gradual and balanced approach.
2.2- Reaffirm the attachment of our states to the humanitarian principles and noble values of human rights in their comprehensive and complementary dimension, as well as the content of the various international pacts and the Arab pact on human rights adopted by the Tunis summit, the reinforcement of the freedom of expression, thought and worship, and guaranteeing the independence of the judiciary.
2.3- Endeavor, in light on the document of the reform and modernization process of the Arab world, to carry on reform in our countries, to keep pace with the accelerated world changes through the consolidation of democratic practice, the broadening of participation in political and public life and the reinforcement of the role of all components of civil society, including the non-governmental organizations in conceiving the guidelines of the society of tomorrow. Endeavor also to widen women's participation in the political, economic, social, cultural and educational fields, reinforce their rights and their position in society and carry on promoting family and the protection of Arab youth.
2.4- Reinforce the comprehensive development programs and intensify efforts aimed at promoting the educational systems, enhancing knowledge and encouraging its pursuit, fight illiteracy and guarantee a better future to Arab young generations.
2.5- Achieve economic complementarity between Arab States on the basis of exchange of advantages and interdependence of interests and endeavor to upgrade Arab economies by entrusting the economic and social council with working out a common Arab economic and social action strategy in such a way as to consolidate the competitiveness of the Arab economy and enable it to establish a strong partnership with the various economic groupings in the world.
2.6 - Consecrate the values of solidarity and mutual aid between the Arab states, as part of the Arab strategy for the fight against poverty adopted by the Tunis Summit, mobilize all human potentialities of the Arab countries to vitalize the development efforts and upgrade the economy of least developed Arab countries and promote their development programs.
2.7 - Be well prepared, at the level of governments, civil societies and private sector, to participate actively in the World Summit on Information Society whose second stage will take place in Tunis, in November 2005, so that this event will constitute an important opportunity to further promote the position of information and communication technologies in the Arab development plans and reinforce the capacity of Arab countries to follow and contribute to the evolution experienced by this sector which is a cardinal pillar of development.
2.8- Take appropriate measures enabling the Arab organization of communication and information technologies to play the role incumbent upon it in the consolidation of inter-Arab cooperation in this vital sector.
2.9 – Establish stronger relations of friendship between Arab countries and other countries of the world, and work out a new approach of cooperation and solidarity-based partnership with other countries, out of the keenness to consecrate dialogue between religions and cultures and highlight the civilisational and humanist mission of Islam which calls for the dissemination of the values of tolerance, understanding and peaceful co-existence between peoples and nations and rejects hatred and discrimination.
2.10 - Reaffirm the commitment of Arab States to carry on their contribution as part of the international efforts to fight all forms of terrorism, avoid confusing Islam with terrorism and differentiate between legitimate resistance and terrorism.
2.11 - Call for the holding of an international conference under the aegis of the United Nations for the setting up of an international code of ethics for the fight against terrorism while working to tackle the root causes of this phenomenon.
3 - We extend our deep thanks and high consideration to His Excellency, President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, president of the Tunisian Republic for his competence, wisdom and generosity in leading the summit's works.
We are convinced that Arab joint action process will witness under his chairmanship further progress and that the position of the Arab Nation among the nations of the world will be further strengthened.
Our thanks and appreciation also go to the Tunisian Republic for having hosted the Arab League council summit in its 16th ordinary session and for having ensured the best conditions of success for the holding of the summit's meetings as well as for the seriousness which it has shown during the preparations for the summit.
We also thank the secretary-general of the Arab League for the efforts he has deployed to this effect.
Tunis, 23 May 2004
© 2004 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)