Sommaire: 14 April 2010, New York - Statement on behalf of the European Union by H.E. Ambassador Pedro Serrano, Acting Head of the Delegation of the European Union to the United Nations, at the Security Council Debate on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question, United Nations
Let me begin by thanking the Japanese Presidency of the Security Council for inviting the European Union to this timely and important debate.
The Candidate Countries Turkey, Croatia* and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia, and the EFTA country Iceland, member of the European Economic Area, as well as Ukraine align themselves with this declaration.
Negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis were last held in December 2008. The absence of negotiations and the ensuing vacuum has been a source of great concern to the European Union and the international community. The resumption of negotiations remains an absolute and urgent necessity. This is now more urgent than ever. The European Union calls on both Israelis and Palestinians to resume meaningful negotiations on all final status issues without further delay. A failure to do so will have negative consequences and obstruct our efforts to bring peace and stability to the Middle East.
The European Union has strongly supported international efforts led by the US aimed at resuming negotiations. A firm, ambitious and sustained effort from the US remains indispensable. The European Union will continue to work closely with the US and support its efforts. At the same time the European Union, together with its Quartet and Arab League partners, will continue actively to look for ways to ensure a peace deal which should be finalised within the 24 months period mentioned in the Quartet Statement agreed in Moscow on 19 March 2010. The European Union continues to support reinvigorated Quartet engagement.
The creation of the State of Palestine and the realisation of the two-state solution remains a core European interest. The European Union is also ready to step up its efforts by facilitating and sustaining peace agreements. The European Union will continue to work on contributions in the areas of state-building, regional issues, refugees, security and Jerusalem. The European Union will continue to assist Palestinian state-building in preparation for Palestinian statehood. It is ready to extend full diplomatic, political and economic support to the Palestinian Authority's Government Plan "Palestine, Ending the Occupation, Establishing the State".
In order to restore credibility to the peace process the parties should implement their respective, agreed obligations under the first phase of the Road Map. This should take place in parallel with a resumption of negotiations on all final status issues. Israel must end all settlement activities in East Jerusalem and the rest of the West Bank, including natural growth. It should dismantle all outposts erected since March 2001. Palestinian institutions in Jerusalem should be allowed to reopen. The Palestinian side must continue implementation of its obligations to end violence.
The European Union is deeply concerned about the situation in East Jerusalem and calls on all parties to refrain from further provocative actions. The European Union 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. All discriminatory treatment of Palestinians in East Jerusalem must stop.
The humanitarian situation in Gaza continues to be a source of deep concern. The physical and political divisions between Gaza and the West Bank undermine the efforts of the international community to resume a meaningful peace process. Gaza must be an integral part of the future State of Palestine. The continued policy of closure is both counter productive and unacceptable. The European Union reiterates its call for the urgent and full implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1860 (2009) and for the immediate, sustained and unconditional opening of crossings for the flow of humanitarian aid, commercial goods and persons. The European Union calls on those holding the abducted Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit to release him without delay.
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.
EU assistance aimed at supporting the peace process stands at over EUR 1 billion per year. The EU will continue to provide this support. The EU also calls on all regional actors to take confidence building measures in order to stimulate mutual trust and encourages Arab countries to be forthcoming, both politically and financially, in assisting the Palestinian Authority and Palestinian refugees through UNRWA. The EU hopes and expects that all Parties to the conflict will shoulder their responsibilities and step towards lasting peace.
* Croatia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.