Norway welcomes resolution 2118 as an important milestone in the efforts to address the issue of chemical weapons in Syria. Removing the chemical stockpiles in Syria and eliminating the risk of anybody once again using these horrendous weapons in Syria is timely and necessary.
However, we know that this will not end the war in Syria. Resolution 2118 should therefore be a stepping stone towards stopping the bloodshed in Syria and finding a political solution to the conflict, for which there is no military solution.
Norway urges the parties to participate in the planned Geneva II Conference. The conference should build on the framework already established under Geneva I. The goal must be to reach agreement on a transitional body that can prepare for free elections and a democratic constitution. Such a body could pave the way for a truly inclusive and democratic Syria, and ensure respect for Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
At the same time, we must not forget the suffering of millions of victims, and the urgency of full, immediate, unfettered and unimpeded humanitarian access. Today more than 2 million people are without access to humanitarian assistance. This is unacceptable. We call on the Security Council to see to that the Presidential statement of 2 October is fully implemented on the ground in Syria.
Norway remains resolute in its support for the ongoing negotiations towards a final status agreement between Israel and the PLO. The courage shown by the top leadership on both sides is truly commendable.
It is encouraging that the talks are continuing, as time is of the essence. We urge both parties to make use of this opportunity and to agree on a solution within the parameters of relevant UN resolutions, the Oslo Accords and later signed agreements.
We understand that reaching agreement involves painful concessions and tough decisions for both sides. But reaching agreement now is in the interests of the Palestinian people. This may be the last opportunity for a long time for the Palestinian people to realise their national aspirations.
Reaching agreement now is also in the interests of Israel. Broader recognition of Israel’s right to exist can only be achieved by ending the occupation.
Only the establishment of a sovereign Palestinian state, in accordance with the principles of the two-state vision of peace, can provide the state of Israel with internationally recognised and secure borders.
Norway is concerned about any external events that threaten to undermine the talks. We condemn all use of violence. We call for restraint from unilateral acts on the ground. Settlement activities must stop and all parties must refrain from provocations, and stay the course.
Norway, in its capacity as chair for the donor coordination group, the AHLC, calls on donors to follow up on the positive spirit in the meeting held in New York on 25 September.
Additional contributions to the Palestinian Authority’s budget are urgently needed. The meeting concluded that USD 350 million is required this year. It also called for additional support from generous Arab states to reduce the Palestinian domestic debt.
The Palestinian Government is expected to further align their expenses to their resources. The Israeli Government is expected to lift restrictions to private sector development of the Palestinian economy. Both are expected to cooperate to further improve the business environment, trade, development, and the collection and transfer of tax and duties.
With renewed hope for a political solution to the conflict, the donors agree to stay committed to the state-building programme, while negotiations are ongoing. We should now deliver on our promises. At the same time the donors call on the parties to do their part.
Thank you, President.