30 April – Pledging total United Nations support to the Israelis and Palestinians in implementing the Road Map settlement for a two-state solution to the Middle East conflict, Secretary-General Kofi Annan today appealed to both sides to “stay the course” on what may be a difficult path to peace.
“The Road Map's goal of two states, a secure and prosperous Israel and an independent, viable, sovereign and democratic Palestine, living side-by-side in peace and security, must be the focus of our energies and efforts,” a spokesman for Mr. Annan said in a statement issued in New York after the plan was formally presented to the parties today.
Representatives from the so-called Quartet – the UN, United States, European Union and Russian Federation – handed over the plan to Prime Minister Abu Mazen in Ramallah within hours of the swearing in of the new Palestinian government, while the US Ambassador to Israel delivered the Road Map to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.
The Secretary-General believes the plan “gives the Israeli and Palestinian peoples a real chance to end their long and painful conflict, and thus a chance for all the peoples of that troubled region to establish, at last, a just and comprehensive peace,” the statement said.
Calling on both sides to embrace the plan and cooperate with the Quartet in implementing it, “The Secretary-General wishes to assure both Israelis and Palestinians that the United Nations will do everything it can to support them, as they follow the Road Map,” the statement added. “He also looks forward to continued cooperation among the Quartet members and with the parties, as well as with the states in the region, which have an important role to play in the peace process.
“The Secretary-General believes that, while the path to peace may be difficult, Israelis and Palestinians, as well as the international community, must stay the course,” it said.