New York, 27 January 2010
Statement by H.E. Mr. Ivan Barbalic, Ambassador of Bosnia and Herzegovina to the United Nations
I would first like to thank the Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs Oscar Fernandez-Taranco for his update on recent developments in the Middle East.
We also thank the Permanent Representative of Israel, Her Excellency Mrs. Gabriel Shalev and the Permanent Observer of Palestine, His Excellency Mr. Riyad Mansour for their presence and their contribution to our debate.
The Security Council is meeting at the time when new risks are emerging in the Middle East. These risks can potentially jeopardize the efforts of various players focusing on enhancing peace processes in this region. However, as it has been said so many times before, while negotiation processes are crucial, lasting peace in the Middle East is urgently needed.
Therefore, at the outset, Bosnia and Herzegovina calls for the urgent resumption of negotiations that will lead, within an agreed time-frame, to a 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.
In the wake of the first anniversary of military operations in the Gaza Strip allow me to emphasize our grave concerns regarding the living conditions in that area. It is discouraging that despite the international community's calls, no progress has been made in Gaza in the past year.
Bosnia and Herzegovina urges that all steps aimed to ease restrictions of movement in Gaza must be taken. We call for further sustained and unconditional opening of crossings for access to humanitarian aid, commercial goods and persons to and from Gaza. We believe in the necessity of the full implementation of the Agreement on Movement and Access.
Bosnia and Herzegovina strongly condemns all violations of international humanitarian law, and emphasizes that Israeli and Palestinian civilian populations must be protected.
Bosnia and Herzegovina is deeply concerned over the decision on the new settlement activities by Israel in occupied East Jerusalem. Settlements on occupied land are illegal under international law. The demolition of homes and expulsions in East Jerusalem represent a grave obstacle to the peace process. Therefore, we join the numerous calls by the International community that Israel's settlement activities must be brought to an immediate halt. We fully support the United Nation’s activities aimed at diffusing the tensions and call all sides to show their restraint.
Bosnia and Herzegovina considers that securing lasting peace and stability in the region of the Middle East is only possible through diplomatic efforts and full commitment to the peace process. Hence we urge that both Israelis and the Palestinians immediately start with the unconditional implementation of their obligations stipulated by the relevant UN Security Council Resolutions, the Madrid Principles including land for peace, the Roadmap and the agreements previously reached by the parties as well as the Arab Peace Initiative. In this context, we would also like to commend the efforts by the Quartet, the mediation efforts of Egypt and the Arab League as well as of the other international factors willing to contribute to the peace process.
Bosnia and Herzegovina considers that the regional context is of great importance. A comprehensive peace in the Middle East must include a settlement between Israel and Syria and Israel and Lebanon.
The political progress made in Lebanon since the new government was formed late last year, is commendable. Bosnia and Herzegovina welcomes efforts of the Lebanese government in field of political, social and economic development.
Regarding the Syrian track, we welcome the willingness demonstrated by Israel and Syria to advance the peace process. As a part of our strong commitment to a comprehensive regional peace and stability, we fully support all efforts aimed at the reactivation of the talks between the two countries.
In the conclusion Bosnia and Herzegovina reiterates the urgency with which Israelis and Palestinians must resume the peace negotiations. Such negotiations are of outmost significance for progress towards a comprehensive peace in the Middle East.