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Israel And Palestinians Must Fulfill Obligations

Security Council Calls On Israel, Palestinians To Fulfil Obligations For Two-State Peace

New York, Dec 16 2008 4:10PM

The United Nations Security Council today called on Israel and the Palestinians to fulfil their obligations under the so-called Roadmap peace plan seeking a two-State solution to the Middle East conflict, and to refrain from any steps that could undermine confidence or prejudice the outcome of negotiations.

“Lasting peace can only be based on an enduring commitment to mutual recognition, freedom from violence, incitement, and terror, and the two-State solution, building upon previous agreements and obligations,” according to the joint Russian-United States resolution, adopted by 14 of the Council’s 15 members with only Libya abstaining.

It called on all States and international organizations to contribute to an atmosphere conducive to negotiations and “to support the Palestinian government that is committed to the Quartet principles and the Arab Peace Initiative and respects the commitments of the Palestinian Liberation Organization.”

The Quartet – the UN, European Union, Russia and US – is championing the Roadmap, which calls for two States, Israel and Palestine, to live side by side in peace. The Arab Peace Initiative, adopted in March 2002 on the principle of land for peace, calls for Israel to withdraw from all Arab lands occupied since 1967, recognize an independent Palestinian State and provide a just solution for Palestinian refugees, in return for which Arab countries would recognize Israel, end their conflict and normalize relations.

The West Bank-based Palestinian Authority is committed to the Quartet principles while Hamas, which seized control of the Gaza Strip in 2006, does not recognize Israel’s right to exist.

Today’s resolution noted the importance of the 2002 Initiative and urged “an intensification of diplomatic efforts to foster in parallel with progress in the bilateral process mutual recognition and peaceful coexistence between all States in the region in the context of achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East.”

It also called on all States and international organizations to assist in the development of the Palestinian economy, to maximize the resources available to the Palestinian Authority, and to contribute to the Palestinian institution-building programme in preparation for statehood.

“We know we still face many hurdles,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told the Council at the start of today’s session, voicing regret that the two sides had not reached agreement by the hoped-for target of the end of this year. “But a serious process is underway. We must ensure that what has been started is seen all the way through to its conclusion.”

Yesterday Mr. Ban hosted a high-level Quartet meeting in which the four partners called for an intensification of the negotiations, urging both sides to take the necessary steps to reach peace.

ENDS

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