The Honourable Maxime Bernier, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today made the following statement on the meeting on the Middle East, which took place at the Annapolis Conference in the United States:
“Today in Annapolis, the Israelis and Palestinians agreed in a joint understanding to work toward a peace agreement by the end of 2008. This historic development came about through the determination, vision and efforts of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, and under the firm leadership of the United States.“The progress achieved during this conference brings renewed hope.
We were especially encouraged by the robust presence and support of the international community, notably those from the Arab world, whose renewed commitment is vital for a comprehensive peace agreement. We also welcomed the international community’s commitment to helping the Palestinians improve security, build modern governance institutions, develop their economy and create prosperity.
“The dual pillars of Canada’s principled policy on the Middle East are our long-standing support for the security and well-being of Israel and its legitimate place within the Middle East and the international community, and our support for the establishment of a democratic, peaceful Palestinian state. “Canada will continue to support the parties and U.S. leadership as negotiations move forward toward everyone’s goal: two states living in peace and security.”