New York, 14 April 2010
Statement by H.E. Mr. Ivan Barbalic, Ambassador of Bosnia and Herzegovina to the United Nations
at the UN Security Council Debate
on Middle East situation, including the Palestinian question
At the outset, let me join others in expressing our deepest grief to the representative and the friendly people of China with regard to the tragic earthquake this morning.
I would like to thank Mr. Lynn Pascoe, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, for his update on recent developments in the Middle East. We also thank the Permanent Representative of Israel, Ms. Gabriela Shalev, and the Permanent Observer of Palestine, Mr. Riyad Mansour, for their presence and contribution to our debate.
Allow me to point out that the delegation of Bosnia and Herzegovina aligns itself with the statement of the European Union.
Bosnia and Herzegovina remains deeply concerned over the situation in the Middle East. Recent events have additionally burdened the already fragile situation on the ground. We therefore underscore the need for an immediate resumption of the proximity talks as a prelude to full Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations. We take this opportunity to underscore once again that lasting peace and security can be achieved only on the basis of the relevant Security Council resolutions, the Madrid principles, the Road Map and the agreements previously reached by the parties, as well as the Arab Peace Initiative. Bosnia and Herzegovina remains 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.
In order to achieve this objective, the parties have to meet their obligations and commitments. In that sense, Bosnia and Herzegovina condemns the recent decision of the Government of Israel to approve the building of 1,600 new housing units in East Jerusalem, which came at a time when new hopes for the resumption of proximity talks were on the horizon. We reiterate that all settlement activity on occupied land is illegal under international law and is contrary to Israel’s obligations under the Road Map. We call upon Israel to immediately end all settlement activities, including natural growth, dismantle all outposts erected since March 2001 and refrain from demolitions and evictions in East Jerusalem.
Bosnia and Herzegovina does not recognize the annexation of East Jerusalem and stresses that the status of Jerusalem is a permanent status issue that must be resolved through negotiations between the parties. We also wish to stress that the holy ground of the three great monotheistic religions deserves mutual and global respect for peace, freedom of religious expression and human rights.
Bosnia and Herzegovina attaches high importance to the determination of the Quartet to remain actively involved on all tracks and to encourage the pursuit of a comprehensive resolution of the Middle East conflict.
At its last meeting, held in Moscow on 19 March, the Quartet underlined that the proximity talks are an important step towards the resumption, without preconditions, of direct, bilateral negotiations that resolve all final status issues, as previously agreed by the parties.
We also appreciate the efforts of the United States Special Envoy, Senator Mitchell, and his tenacity in laying the groundwork for a resumption of negotiations. Furthermore, Bosnia and Herzegovina supports the view that the entire international community must help all the parties to transform the unsustainable status quo into a politically sustainable negotiating process without further delay, with a view to reaching a peace agreement at the earliest possible time.
Bosnia and Herzegovina deeply regrets the lack of any meaningful steps towards reconstruction and rehabilitation in Gaza. We reiterate our call for the urgent and 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, in accordance with the 2005 Agreement on Movement and Access.
Bosnia and Herzegovina strongly condemns all armed attacks on civilians and wishes to reiterate that the civilian populations must be protected. We join the Quartet in condemning the 18 March rocket fire from Gaza and we urge the Palestinian side to continue to implement its obligations to end violence. We call once more for an immediate end to all violence and terror. We urge all the parties to observe restraint and make every effort to avoid further escalation.
I would like to conclude by emphasizing that meaningful dialogue is the only way forward. Bosnia and Herzegovina urges both the Israelis and the Palestinians to immediately resume peace negotiations as the conditio sine qua non for achieving a just, lasting and comprehensive peace in the Middle East.