Question: The UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Robert Serry, said that the process has come to a prolonged political stalemate and has called on the international community to seriously reassess its role in resolving the conflict. He said you hope that the Quartet, in consultation with the parties, will look beyond prescriptive timelines to chart a credible, political way ahead in the next few months. Could you share with us what you believe would be credible political way ahead? Thank you.
Secretary-General: As with everybody, I am also deeply concerned about the lack of progress in the Middle East peace process. I met [Palestinian Authority] President [Mahmoud] Abbas and I have been continuously discussing with the leaders in the region, in the world. As a member of the Quartet, I have an important responsibility to see this progress going on. Robert Serry and his counterparts, the envoys, have been continuously meeting and they will again meet, I think, next Monday or so and have an envoys’ meeting.
What is important at this time is that the leaders in the region and the key parties should have a longer vision for an ultimate and lasting peace in the region. This has not happened. That is why we see so many problems and so many conflicts are taking place in the region. I believe that the Middle East peace process should be addressed in a comprehensive way. At the same time, Israeli and Palestinian reconciliation should also play a very important role. Now that there is no such progress at this time, I am deeply concerned, together with the continuing political instability in the region, and this will be one of the key issues again during this General Assembly when I will be engaging with key concerned leaders.
Question: An upcoming General Assembly question: like last year, the Palestinians, this year, they say they will be requesting non-member observer status. Is this helpful or not helpful?
Secretary-General: The aspiration of the Palestinian people to join the United Nations has been a long aspiration, and it has been long overdue. Last year, President Abbas submitted an application for their membership, and it is still in the Security Council. At the same time, I believe that all these processes should come out as a result of a negotiated settlement of the Middle East peace process, particularly the two-State formula, where Israelis and Palestinians can live side by side in peace and security. This has been upheld by all the parties concerned, including the two parties, that they should, first of all, engage in dialogue so that they can find a lasting formula. Then, in such a case, I think the missions, or their status in the United Nations, will automatically be resolved. That is my sincere hope.