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EU Statement – United Nations Security Council: Situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question

Summary: 26 July 2011, New York - Statement on behalf of the European Union by H.E. Mr. Pedro Serrano, Acting Head of the Delegation of the European Union to the United Nations, at the United Nations Security Council Open Debate on the Situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question

Mr President,

Thank you for giving the floor to the European Union.

The Candidate Countries Croatia1, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia1 and Montenegro1, the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, as well as Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova align themselves with this statement.

Mr President,

While dramatic events in the Middle Eastern region are unfolding, the Arab-Israeli conflict continues to be caught in a worrisome stalemate. It is a matter of the highest priority for us to continue to make every effort to contribute to the ending of this conflict. The legitimate aspirations of peoples in the region, including those of Palestinians for statehood, and of Israelis for security are at stake.

The meeting of the Middle East Quartet on 11 July confirmed the need to set out a reference framework that could help the parties to resume negotiations. Efforts are continuing to find the formula that can best achieve this goal. EU member states have repeatedly expressed their full support for the High Representative in her continued efforts for the Quartet to create a credible perspective for the re-launching of the peace process, most recently in Council Conclusions adopted on 18 July 2011. 

The EU stresses the central role of the Quartet and that the complexity of the transformational moment witnessed across the Arab world calls for multilateral efforts aiming at supporting a negotiated solution of the Arab-Israeli conflict. The EU continues to believe that this is the best way forward. The EU also encourages an active Arab contribution to this process and reiterates its view on the value of the Arab Peace Initiative.The European Union goal remains a just and lasting resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, with the State of Israel and an independent, democratic, contiguous, sovereign and viable State of Palestine, living side by side in peace and security and mutual recognition. Recalling the Berlin Declaration, the EU reiterates its readiness to recognize a Palestinian State when appropriate. 

The EU believes that negotiations should include all final status issues, including borders, Jerusalem, refugees, security and water, respecting previous agreements and understandings.  Clear parameters defining the basis for negotiations are key elements for a successful outcome, as contained in Council Conclusions of December 2009, December 2010, May 2011 and presented to this Council on 21 April 2011.

This is an opportunity for the EU to recall its positions in this regard. We believe that the following parameters could serve as a basis for a resumption of negotiations between the parties:

- An agreement on the borders of the two states, based on June 4 1967 lines with equivalent land swaps as may be agreed between the parties.

- Security arrangements that, for Palestinians, respect their sovereignty and show that the occupation is over; and, for Israelis, protect their security, prevent the resurgence of terrorism and deal effectively with new and emerging threats.

- A just, fair and agreed solution to the refugee question.

- Fulfilment of the aspirations of both parties for Jerusalem. A way must be found through negotiations to resolve the status of Jerusalem as the future capital of both states.

Mr President,

The EU calls on all parties to abstain from actions that are not conducive to a comprehensive solution of the conflict. Furthermore, the EU expects the parties to avoid practices undermining trust and to refrain from any provocative action which may threaten the on-going efforts to resume direct talks.

The EU reiterates that settlements in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, are illegal under international law, constitute an obstacle to peace and threaten to make a two-state solution impossible. All settlement activity, including in East Jerusalem, should stop immediately.

Mr President,

The European Union remains one of the major supporters and contributors to the Palestinian state-building efforts led by President Abbas and Prime Minister Fayyad.

The EU reiterates its strong support to the institution-building process and welcomes the outcome of reports which state that the PA is above the threshold for a functioning state in the key sectors studied. In this regard, the EU expresses its full appreciation of the current Government’s success in implementing the state building plan. The EU expects a future Palestinian government to continue the PA’s institution-building efforts and to uphold current standards in terms of transparent and efficient public finance management, as consistently commended by the UN, the IMF and the World Bank.

The EU considers intra-Palestinian reconciliation behind President Mahmoud Abbas as an important element for the unity of a future Palestinian state and for reaching a two state solution. In this context, the EU commends the Egyptian role in brokering theCairoagreement on 3 May. The EU looks forward to continuing its support, including through direct financial support, for a new Palestinian government composed of independent figures that commits to the principles set out in President Abbas' speech on 4 May, upholding the principle of non-violence,  remaining committed to achieving a two-state solution and to a negotiated peaceful settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict accepting previous agreements and obligations, including Israel’s legitimate right to exist.

The EU calls for the unconditional release of the abducted Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit without delay.

Despite some progress following the decisions of the Israeli Government to ease the Gaza closure, the EU reiterates its call in line with UNSC resolution 1860 (2009) for an immediate, sustained and unconditional opening of crossings for the flow of humanitarian aid, commercial goods and persons to and from Gaza, while addressing Israel's legitimate security concerns.

Mr President,

As regards the situation in Syria, the EU deplores the fact that the Syrian leadership has chosen to ignore repeated calls made by the international community and continues its policy of deliberate violent repression of peaceful protestors. The EU reiterates its condemnation of this policy in the strongest terms. The violence must be stopped immediately in order to prevent further bloodshed. In this context, the EU calls for a political process leading to rapid and concrete implementation of substantial reforms, addressing the legitimate demands of Syrian people on their way to a peaceful, genuine and irreversible transition to democracy.

Thank you Mr President.

1  Croatia, theformerYugoslavRepublic of Macedonia andMontenegro continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.

  • Ref: EUUN11-087EN
  • EU source: European Union
  • UN forum: Security Council
  • Date: 26/7/2011

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See also

European Union Member States