New York, 18 October 2010
Statement by H.E. Mr. Ivan Barbalić, Ambassador of Bosnia and Herzegovina to the United Nations
at the UN Security Council Debate
on The situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question
I would like to begin by thanking Mr. Fernandez-Taranco, Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs, for his update on recent developments in the Middle East. We also thank the Permanent Representative of Israel, Mr. Meron Reuben, and the Permanent Observer of Palestine, Mr. Riyad Mansour, for their presence and their contribution to our debate.
In the past month, we have all witnessed the intensified efforts to find a way to continue direct peace talks in an environment conducive to progress. During the Security Council discussions last month, Bosnia and Herzegovina whole-heartedly welcomed the resumption of direct talks between Israelis and Palestinians. We would also like to use this opportunity to reiterate our full support for serious and responsible direct negotiations, which represent the only way to resolve all final status issues and reach a two-State solution.
The resumption of direct talks represents a major breakthrough in the Middle East crisis and a significant achievement by the parties involved. It has also been strongly supported by many international actors, and we must again pay tribute to United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Senator George Mitchell, who have played an important role, which reflects President Obama’s commitment to peace in the Middle East. The Middle East Quartet and the Arab League have also contributed substantially to this process.
My delegation was aware of the tremendous efforts required from both sides in order to get the negotiation process moving. Unfortunately, we are once again confronted with discouraging news from the Middle East. Bosnia and Herzegovina shares the grave concerns of others regarding actions that threaten the continuation of direct talks, in particular the expiration of Israel’s 10-month partial settlement moratorium. We must underline once again that all settlement activities on occupied land are illegal under international law and are contrary to Israel’s obligations under the Road Map. Those activities, therefore, represent an obstacle on the road to comprehensive peace. Bosnia and Herzegovina calls upon Israel to respond positively to appeals by the international community and end all settlement activities, including in East Jerusalem.
Still, despite this major obstacle on the road to negotiations, it is our strong belief that their resumption is a crucially important opportunity that must not be missed. The Middle East cannot afford a failed peace process. Bosnia and Herzegovina, therefore, urges the parties directly involved to take the difficult and necessary decisions to achieve a just political settlement that should lead to a two-State solution. We would like to underline that we firmly believe that this momentum deserves the continuous and unconditional support of the entire international community, and we are looking forward to a comprehensive political dialogue with a clear agenda and terms of reference aimed at resolving all permanent status issues — including the status of Jerusalem — within one year.
With that in mind, it is important to reiterate that the current situation calls for brave political decisions and practical steps from both sides. It is also of utmost importance that both sides avoid provocative actions that could undermine the success of the negotiations. Furthermore, respect for international humanitarian law by all is vital for any lasting solution and cooperation between the two sides.
We strongly condemn all armed attacks on civilians and wish to reiterate that Israeli and Palestinian civilian populations must be protected. Bosnia and Herzegovina calls for a complete stop to all violence, in particular rocket fire and terrorist attacks.
Bosnia and Herzegovina advocates a comprehensive and lasting peace in the Middle East, which can be achieved only on the basis of the relevant Security Council resolutions, the Madrid principles, the Road Map and agreements previously reached by the parties, as well as the Arab Peace Initiative. Bosnia and Herzegovina is and will remain committed to the two-State solution, with the State of Israel and an independent, democratic, contiguous and viable State of Palestine, living side by side in peace and security. Gaza is of continuing concern to Bosnia and Herzegovina. We recognize positive Israeli activities towards easing the entry of goods into Gaza, but reiterate our calls for a full implementation of resolution 1860 (2009) and for the immediate, sustained and unconditional opening of crossings for the flow of humanitarian aid, commercial goods and persons to and from Gaza, including goods from the West Bank.
Allow me to reiterate our firm belief that only direct, open and frank negotiations can advance the peace process and bring it to a successful conclusion. Bosnia and Herzegovina urges the Israelis and the Palestinians to invest all their efforts to achieve a just, lasting, and comprehensive peace.
In conclusion, Bosnia and Herzegovina recalls that peace in the Middle East should be comprehensive and reiterates the importance of negotiations on the Israeli-Syrian and Israeli-Lebanese tracks. As regards Lebanon, we reaffirm our full support to the Lebanese authorities and commend the crucial role in southern Lebanon of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL). We call upon all parties concerned to implement all provisions of resolution 1701 (2006), to respect the Blue Line in its entirety and to cooperate fully with the United Nations and UNIFIL.
Bosnia and Herzegovina fully supports the work and the independence of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon.