New York, 19 January 2011
Statement by H.E. Mr. Ivan Barbalić, Ambassador of Bosnia and Herzegovina to the United Nations
I would like to begin by thanking Mr. Lyn 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, His Excellency Mr. Meron Reuben and the Permanent Observer of Palestine, His Excellency Mr. Riyad Mansour for their presence and their contribution to our debate.
Bosnia and Herzegovina reiterates that comprehensive and lasting peace in the Middle East can be achieved only on the basis of the relevant UN Security Council Resolutions, the Madrid Principles, the Roadmap, and the 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.
We do not recognize the annexation of East Jerusalem and underline that the status of Jerusalem is a permanent status issue that must be resolved through negotiations between the parties. Jerusalem, the Holy City of the three great monotheistic religions: Christianity, Judaism and Islam – should be the symbol of peace, freedom of religious expressions and human rights.
In this regard, we express our grave concern with the prolonged and dangerous impasse in the Middle East peace process aggravated by the most recent incidents on the ground.
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 Roadmap. We also condemn destruction of the Shepherd Hotel and the planned construction of a new illegal settlement. These activities represent an obstacle on the road to comprehensive peace. We therefore call upon Israel to end all settlement activities in occupied Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem.
With regard to Gaza we take note of an increased flow of food and consumer goods into Gaza. However, we continue to call 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 Resolution 1860 (2009). Israel's security concerns including a complete stop to all violence and arms smuggling into Gaza must also be addressed.
We strongly condemn recent armed attacks on civilians and wish to underline that the civilian populations must be protected. Therefore, we reiterate our call for an immediate end to all violence and urge all the parties to observe restraint and make every effort to avoid further escalation.
I would like to use this opportunity to reiterate our strong belief that the functioning of the national unity Government in Lebanon is the best guarantee to preserve stability and promote dialogue in the country. Hence it is essential at this critical juncture that Lebanese leaders do their utmost in preventing a political crisis and finding a negotiated solution to the current situation.
As a matter of principle, we fully support the work and independence of international criminal courts and tribunals, including the Special Tribunal for Lebanon. Moreover, we reiterate our call upon all parties not to interfere in the Tribunal's work and not to prejudge its outcome.
In conclusion, we would like to once again emphasize our concerns with the actual stalemate in the peace process that certainly cannot bring about the positive environment necessary for a long term strategic decisions and lasting peace. At this critical juncture, it is of utmost importance that both the Israelis and Palestinian take the necessary decisions to break the actual impasse and return to direct talks as the only way to secure a better future for their peoples.