29 November 2005 – In an address marking the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today called for renewed action by Israelis and Palestinians to meet their obligations under the Road Map peace process, which calls for parallel steps by both parties toward a final agreement.
"Performance of Road Map obligations is the way to move forward towards the shared goal of a sovereign, contiguous and democratic Palestinian State, living side by side in peace and security with Israel," Mr. Annan said of the plan, which is sponsored by the Quartet consisting of the UN, European Union, United States and Russia.
Otherwise a solution to the decades-long conflict remains elusive, after the hopes raised by Israel's disengagement from Gaza were tamped down by violence, he told the meeting of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, at which many other delegates spoke.
Mr. Annan said that renewed action on the Road Map could take advantage of the new opportunity that has emerged due to the agreement to open the Rafah crossing and facilitate other freedom of movement, which could bring about tangible benefits to Palestinians who have suffered due to the events of recent years.
"I strongly urge the Palestinian and Israeli leaderships to work with each other, with Quartet Special Envoy James Wolfensohn, and with the Quartet to ensure that the agreement is implemented in full and on time," he said.
The coming elections would have an important bearing on the peace process, he said, but should not distract from the essential work of building mutual trust.
"Palestinians need to be assured that the future viability of a Palestinian State will not be eroded by settlement expansion and barrier construction. Israelis need to be assured that their security will not be compromised by failure to act decisively against terror," he said.
Jan Eliasson, President of the General Assembly, also urged the parties to build on the achievements of the past several months by making progress along the Road Map.
"It is crucial that Palestinians and Israelis no co-operate to the fullest extent possible. Actions which could aggravate the situation and increase suspicions and mistrust must not be undertaken," he said, stressing that the international community should focus its assistance on capacity-building programmes as part of a development strategy for a future Palestinian state.
In addition to this morning's programme, a dance performance, a film screening and other activities are scheduled to mark the Day of Solidarity at UN Headquarters.