EU Statement - United Nations Security Council: Debate on the Situation in the Middle East
Sumario: 27 January 2010, New York - Statement by H.E. Ambassador Pedro Serrano, Acting Head of the European Union Delegation, at the Security Council Debate on the Situation in the Middle East, United Nations
Let me start by thanking you for inviting the European Union to participate in this open debate on the situation in the Middle East, in its capacity as Quartet member.
The Candidate Countries Turkey, Croatia* and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania, Montenegro, Serbia, and the EFTA country Iceland, member of the European Economic Area, as well as Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova and Armenia align themselves with this statement.
The resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict remains a central political and strategic objective for the EU.
On the occasion of the first Foreign Affairs Council in December 2009, following the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty, EU Foreign Ministers discussed in depth the current situation in the Middle East and the way forward. During this discussion the following points were emphasized:
• A resumption of negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians, now absent for more than a year, is of utmost urgency. These negotiations, however, must be focussed and result-oriented. The negotiations must respect international law as well as previous agreements and understandings. They must include all final status issues, including borders, Jerusalem, refugees, security and water and must lead, within an agreed time frame, to a two-state solution with the State of
Israel and an independent, democratic, contiguous and viable State of Palestine, living side by side in peace and security.
• The EU will not recognise any changes to the pre-1967 borders including with regard to Jerusalem, other than those agreed by the parties. The EU supports the ongoing efforts of the United States towards a resumption of negotiations, which are closely co-ordinated among Quartet partners.
• Mr President, the EU stands ready to contribute substantially to post-conflict arrangements, aimed at ensuring the sustainability of peace agreements. We appeal to others to join in this important task.
• In the meantime, the EU continues its work as a key contributor to Palestinian state-building, in line with the Palestinian Authority's Government Plan. Our field missions and our work within the Quartet contribute to this. In this context I would like to emphasise the efforts deployed by Quartet Special Envoy Tony Blair to promote Palestinian economic development and institutional governance of the future Palestinian state.
• The EU welcomes Israel's steps to ease restrictions of movement in the West Bank, which have made a contribution to the economic growth. Further and sustained improvements of movement and access have to follow. Many checkpoints and roadblocks remain in place. The Palestinian Authority, for its part, must build on its efforts to improve law and order.
• The EU took positive note of the decision of the Government of Israel on a partial and temporary settlement freeze. The EU sees this as a first step in the right direction and hopes that it will contribute towards a resumption of meaningful negotiations.
• At the same time the EU reiterates that settlements, the separation barrier wherever built on occupied land, as well as demolition of homes and evictions are illegal under international law, constitute an obstacle to peace and threaten to make a two-state solution impossible. The EU urges the Government of Israel to immediately end all settlement activities, in East Jerusalem and the rest of the West Bank and including natural growth, and to dismantle all outposts erected since March
• The EU is particularly concerned about the situation in East-Jerusalem and calls on the Israeli Government to stop all discriminatory treatment of Palestinians there. The EU recalls that it has never recognised the annexation of East Jerusalem. If there is to be a genuine peace, a way must be found through negotiations to resolve the status of Jerusalem as the future capital of two States. The EU calls for the reopening of Palestinian institutions in Jerusalem in accordance with the
• One year ago the Gaza hostilities came to an end and the Security Council adopted Resolution 1860. However, the situation continues to be of grave concern. Full implementation of Security Council resolution 1860 is urgent. The EU further emphasises the importance of appropriate and credible investigations into possible violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law by the parties to the conflict in accordance with international standards. A continued policy of
closures has deeply affected life in Gaza and led to the devastation of its economy, and is politically counterproductive. The EU maintains its call for an immediate, sustained and unconditional opening of the crossings for the flow of humanitarian aid, commercial goods and persons to and from Gaza. While extremists stand to gain from the current situation, the civilian population suffers.
• The EU is well aware and fully recognises Israel's legitimate security needs. Gaza must not be a platform for violence against Israel and arms smuggling must stop. The EU calls for the release of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, held captive for more than 3 and a half years now.
• The separation of Gaza from the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, remains a matter of serious concern. The EU therefore calls on all Palestinians to promote reconciliation behind President Abbas and to support the mediation efforts by Egypt and the Arab League, in order to prevent a lasting and detrimental division.
A comprehensive peace must include a settlement between Israel and Syria and Israel and Lebanon. Concerning the Syrian track, the EU sincerely hopes that the 2008 talks can soon be resumed and brought to a conclusion.
A comprehensive settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict requires a regional approach and the EU therefore calls on all regional actors to take confidence building measures in order to stimulate mutual trust. An active Arab contribution, building on the Arab Peace Initiative, is of crucial importance. These views are shared among all Quartet partners.
Let me close by confirming the determination of the EU to work with its partners in a reinvigorated Quartet to achieve the two-state solution. I would like to express the hope that this debate at the beginning of a new year and indeed a new decade will mark the beginning of a political development that will finally lead to the solution of this conflict.
Thank you Mr President.
* Croatia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.
- Ref: EUUN10-005EN
- Fuente UE: Unión Europea
- Foro NU: Consejo de Seguridad
- Fecha: 27/1/2010
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