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The situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question
On 27 March, the Council held its monthly meeting on the Middle East. The Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process and Personal Representative of the Secretary-General to the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Palestinian Authority, Robert Serry, briefed the Council at a public meeting. Council members then discussed the matter further in closed consultations.
The Special Coordinator said that there was a dangerous combination of lack of political progress, instability and violence on the ground, and an increasingly precarious situation for the Palestinian Authority. The parties had not found sufficient common ground to resume direct negotiations. A continued political vacuum would threaten the achievements of Palestinian state-building. Such a vacuum would be filled by negative trends. It was essential that the Quartet assume its responsibilities when it met on 11 April. It needed to direct collective efforts towards overcoming gaps in trust and substance.
In closed consultations, the Special Coordinator said that very little was happening and uncertainty was growing. The positions of the parties were far apart. There was no prospect of serious talks until the end of the year. The objective until then should be to keep the Palestinian Authority afloat. The challenge for the Quartet on 11 April was to chart a way forward that kept the prospects of a two-State solution alive. He was concerned that the principles underlying the two-State solution were being eroded, and that action was needed to protect the future of the two-State solution. Some members said the Council should encourage the parties to resume dialogue and to take tangible steps to improve the climate, and suggested that a visit by the Security Council to both Palestine and Israel could be of value. Some members expressed concern that the Council was not providing sufficient support for the Quartet’s difficult work. Several members also condemned indiscriminate rocket fire from Gaza into southern Israel.
Most Council members lamented the lack of progress. Many said that time was running out for the two-State solution and that the Quartet needed to do more — including by charting a clear way forward on 11 April.