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The meeting was called to order at 10.10 a.m.
The agenda was adopted.
The President: I wish to welcome the Secretary-General and other representatives participating in today’s meeting. Their presence is an affirmation of the importance of the subject to be addressed.
Under rule 39 of the Council’s provisional rules of procedure, I invite His Excellency Mr. Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu, Secretary-General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, to participate in this meeting.
The Security Council will now begin its consideration of the item on its agenda.
I wish to draw the attention of Council members to document S/2013/588, which contains a letter dated 3 October 2013 from the Permanent Representative of Azerbaijan to the United Nations addressed to the Secretary-General, containing a concept paper on the item to be considered.
I now have the honour to give the floor to the Secretary-General, His Excellency Mr. Ban Ki-moon.
The Secretary-General: ...
On the Middle East peace process, direct talks have resumed, but Israelis and Palestinians must quickly see visible peace dividends. The status quo in the occupied Palestinian territory is not sustainable, and in the long run, the occupation is deeply damaging to Israelis and Palestinians alike. The OIC can help forge a way forward within the agreed time frame.
Mr. İhsanoğlu (Organization of Islamic Cooperation): ...
While a period of extraordinary challenges is still evolving in the Middle East, a credible peace process towards a two-State solution remains a core priority for the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. I would like to reaffirm that the international community and this organ in particular have a special responsibility to do its utmost to solve the Palestinian question, according to the relevant United Nations resolutions, the Arab Peace Initiative and the Israeli-Palestinian agreements reached within the framework of the Middle East peace process.
The OIC believes that the key to reaching a comprehensive and lasting peace in the Middle East lies in ending the Israeli occupation that started in 1967 and by establishing an independent and sovereign Palestinian State. Therefore, we believe that the ongoing direct Palestinian-Israeli peace negotiations provide a valuable window of opportunity that should not be missed. Creating conditions conducive to peace also requires that all illegal and harmful acts, including the construction of settlements, should be immediately stopped.
At the same time, we remain committed to assisting the Palestinian people in improving their socioeconomic life. Therefore, the OIC is ready to build a constructive partnership with the United Nations to improve the socioeconomic life of the Palestinians in the Palestinian territories, including occupied East Jerusalem. The development agencies of both the OIC and the United Nations can cooperate in creating a better life for the Palestinians.
The President: I thank Mr. İhsanoğlu for his very informative briefing.
I will now make a statement in my capacity as Minister of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan.
A just, lasting and comprehensive peace in the Middle East and the comprehensive resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict remain among the most pressing issues on the agenda of both the United Nations and the OIC. Azerbaijan welcomes efforts aimed at the resumption of direct negotiations between Israel and Palestine. It is imperative that the parties demonstrate a sense of responsibility in sustaining international efforts towards achieving the two-State solution and avoid actions that would undermine this objective, with the ultimate goal of restoring and enhancing peace, security and sustainable development in the entire region.
In June, Azerbaijan hosted the Conference of the Ministers for Foreign Affairs of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation on the establishment of an Islamic financial safety net in support of Palestine and a donors conference in support of the city of Al-Quds. The OIC member States and international organizations that attended the conferences pledged to contribute to improving Palestine’s economy, infrastructure, health care and education.
I shall now resume my functions as President of the Security Council.
I shall now give the floors to the members of the Security Council.
Ms. Bouaida (Morocco) (spoke in Arabic): ...
Palestine is of critical importance to the OIC. It is the very raison d’être for the establishment of the organization. The OIC has always supported the cause of the Palestinian people in various ways. In that regard, cooperation is essential and of primary importance in the different areas in which we work, including the mechanisms for cooperation between the two organizations, both aimed at a lasting, fair and comprehensive solution to the Palestinian issue.
I welcome the efforts of the Administration of the United States, especially of Secretary of State Kerry, aimed at resuming direct negotiations. We hope those negotiations will lead to a two-State solution, with the Palestinians creating an independent State with East Jerusalem as its capital.
Within the framework of those efforts, the OIC has continued its assistance to the Palestinian people, including through the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East and the assistance provided for new construction in Gaza through the Al-Quds Committee, chaired by His Highness King Mohammed VI, as part of concrete efforts carried out with Al-Quds funds.
We cherish the hope of seeing a common partnership between our two organizations, based on a long-term perspective of strategic cooperation that takes into account all the needs of our two Organizations and the complementarity between them. The OIC also needs support to ensure that we are in a position to act in areas where we have easier access than others. That should take place in a similar manner to its cooperation with other regional organizations. It should be done to expand the field of cooperation, and therefore achieve a greater level of cooperation through annual discussions and debates.
Mr. Gasana (Rwanda): ...
The OIC has a track record of mediation and peacekeeping in conflict zones. We recognize its efforts, in partnership with the United Nations and other regional and subregional organizations, to restore peace and security in Somalia, Afghanistan, the Sudan and the Middle East. We also commend its member States that are already contributing troops to peacekeeping missions in Africa and around the world and recall that half of the ten top United Nations troop- and police-contributing countries are members of the OIC.
Despite those significant developments, however, and as is the case with most other regional organizations, the cooperation between the United Nations and the OIC has yet to reach its full potential. That cooperation should therefore be substantially streamlined, mainly in the areas of mediating and resolving international conflicts. We believe that the OIC can do more. Indeed, building partnerships with other international organizations such as the African Union, the European Union, the League of Arab States or the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and reforming its process through capacity-building and other means will improve its ability to contribute to the resolution of the seemingly intractable conflicts that are affecting the Middle East, including the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as well as to the fight against terrorism and the promotion of intercultural and religious dialogue around the world.
Ms. Lucas (Luxembourg) (spoke in French): ...
In the area of conflict resolution, it is important for the OIC and its member States to remain fully committed to promoting a just, comprehensive and lasting settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, while direct negotiations between the parties aimed at reaching the two-State solution were resumed this summer under the decisive leadership of the United States.
Finally, in the field of humanitarian assistance, we welcome the cooperation that has been developed in recent years between the OIC and the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. The OIC and its member States show their solidarity by providing assistance to the Palestinian and Somali peoples. ...
Mr. Quinlan (Australia): ...
We acknowledge and welcome the OIC’s growing role in responding to humanitarian crises, from drought in the Horn of Africa to floods in South Asia. The OIC’s humanitarian work is also demonstrated by its rehabilitation programmes in the Palestinian territories and reconstruction efforts in Darfur. ...
Australia fully supports the OIC’s call for an immediate cessation of violence and a process of peaceful transition through the “Geneva II” process. We also agree with the OIC that the current peace negotiations between the Palestinians and Israel are an opportunity to achieve the two-State solution that we must not miss.
Mr. Masood Khan (Pakistan): ...
The countries of the OIC, including Pakistan, constitute the bulk and backbone of the United Nations peacekeeping endeavour. In future, the Security Council and the OIC need to work energetically and cohesively on six issues.
Thirdly, a just, comprehensive and durable peace in the Middle East is at the heart of the OIC-United Nations agenda. There is a deep sense of disappointment among the OIC countries and others at the inability of the Security Council to implement its own resolutions that have been crafted to provide the framework for a lasting solution in the Middle East. Now that there is renewed engagement between Palestine and Israel for a two-State solution, the OIC should use its clout and standing to help the Quartet and the United States resolve that long-standing issue. If the issue of Palestine gets resolved, we will all be living in a different, better world.
Sir Mark Lyall Grant (United Kingdom): ...
Resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict remains crucial to long-term security in the Middle East. We welcome the leadership shown by the United States on the issue, and the parties’ commitment to intensify negotiations in the coming weeks. Difficult choices lie ahead and bold leadership will be required on both sides. The international community has a vital role to play in supporting those efforts to achieve the lasting peace that the people of the region need and deserve.
Mr. Araud (France) (spoke in French): ...
We also believe that the Middle East peace process is a central question. We very much hope that negotiations between the Palestinians and the Israelis will allow for a negotiated solution based on the coexistence of two States, Israel and Palestine, living in peace and security.
The meeting rose at 12.20 p.m.
This record contains the text of speeches delivered in English and of the interpretation of speeches delivered in the other languages. The final text will be printed in the Official Records of the Security Council. Corrections should be submitted to the original languages only. They should be incorporated in a copy of the record and sent under the signature of a member of the delegation concerned to the Chief of the Verbatim Reporting Service, room U-506.