Photo: UN Photo.Photo: UN Photo

SC: Situation in the Middle East

7/12/2016 // Statement by Chargé d’Affaires Mr. Halvor Sætre in the open debate on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question, 12 July 2016.

President,

Together with many others, Norway welcomes the publication of the Quartet’s report, and we would like to thank France for convening the Paris Conference.

The key message from both is the urgency of decisive action to save the two-state solution. There is no other credible path towards durable peace.

Nevertheless, the trends on the ground are unequivocally towards a one-state reality that is not compatible with this vision nor with the parties’ stated interests.

Norway urges the parties to address the imminent threats to the two-state solution by implementing the recommendations in the Quartet report. 

The parties must demonstrate their serious commitment and show leadership in reversing the most disturbing trends, such as settlement expansion and the continuation of violence.

Settlement expansions and related activities must stop; they are major obstacles to peace and are corroding the prospects for a two-state solution. Violence and terror must be curtailed.

The international community cannot take over the parties’ responsibility to resolve the conflict. Nevertheless, we must play an active role in developing a credible framework, based on existing agreements and UN resolutions, for resolving all final-status issues.

President,

While we continue to encourage the return to negotiations, the world urgently needs to rally around the task of building the two-state reality.

Through our chairmanship of the international donor group for Palestine (AHLC), Norway remains actively engaged in preparing Palestinian institutions for statehood and sustaining the Palestinian economy on a pathway towards greater self-reliance and independence. These efforts are helping to pave the way towards a two-state reality, and are crucial for keeping this vision alive.

Effective mechanisms for direct economic cooperation between the parties, combined with an international capacity for regular monitoring and reporting on the Palestinian economy – the essence of the AHLC’s work – have proven to be worthwhile. This remains an exceptional model in the region.

At the last AHLC meeting in Brussels, the parties agreed – together with the donors – on a two-year strategy that includes consolidating the budget by closing fiscal leakages, and facilitating long-term economic development, including private sector investment.

The next ministerial AHLC meeting is planned for 19 September, in the margins of the UNGA in New York.

President,

The need to find a political solution to the conflict in Syria is more urgent than ever. Norway fully supports UN Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura’s efforts in this regard.

All sides bear a heavy responsibility to turn the talks into a credible negotiating process that can lead to a genuine political transition. The parties must start tackling the difficult questions set out in resolution 2254.

In Libya too, a political solution is key to defeating ISIL and building a lasting defence against this scourge and future mutations that may arise. Now is the time for all parties to come together under one legitimate Government of National Accord, in accordance with the Libyan Political Agreement.

Thank you.


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