14 March 2006
Withdrawal of Monitors from Jericho Monitoring Mission
The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Mr. Jack Straw): I would like to inform the House that the UK and the US withdrew our monitors from the Jericho Monitoring Mission on 14 March. As I made clear in my statement to the House on 29 April 2002 (Official Report, column 668), it is the prime responsibility of the Palestinian Authority to ensure the personal security of the United States and United Kingdom monitors. Over the last months it has become increasingly clear that the Palestinian Authority is unable to do this.
The UK and the US have repeatedly raised our concerns over the security of our monitors with the Palestinian Authority and urged them to meet their obligations under the Ramallah agreement. Unfortunately, there has been no improvement. We therefore issued a joint US/UK letter to President Abbas on 8 March 2006. This letter said that we would have to terminate our involvement with the mission if the Palestinian Authority did not immediately either fully comply with the Ramallah Agreement (which sets out monitoring arrangements) and make substantive improvements to the security of the monitors or come to a new agreement with the Government of Israel. As required by the Ramallah Agreement we informed the Israeli Authorities that we were delivering a letter in these terms. I have placed a copy of this letter in the Library of the House.
The Palestinian Authority has consistently failed to meet its obligations under the Ramallah Agreement. Ultimately the safety of our personnel has to take precedence. It is with regret that I have to inform the House that these conditions have not been met and we have terminated our involvement with the mission today, 14 March 2006.
Home Duty Editor
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