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I have the honour to transmit herewith a report on the work of the Security Council during the presidency of the Russian Federation in May 2009 (see annex). The document was prepared under my responsibility, after consultation with the other members of the Security Council.
I should be grateful if you would have the present letter and its annex circulated as a document of the Security Council.
On 11 May, the Council conducted a ministerial-level meeting on the Middle East peace process chaired by the Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation, Serguei Lavrov. Speaking at this event the Secretary-General stressed the need to generate momentum in the Israeli-Palestinian talks, warning that the situation on the ground could easily worsen without fresh efforts by both sides as well as the international community. After the inconclusive results of the previous year’s negotiations, said the Secretary-General, and the bloodshed in Gaza, the past three months had witnessed almost no progress on the two key resolutions — 1850 (2008) and 1860 (2009).
The Secretary-General also referred to the deep crisis of confidence among “ordinary people on the ground”. He said that Palestinians continue to see unacceptable unilateral actions in East Jerusalem and the remainder of the West Bank, such as “house demolitions, intensified settlement activity, settler violence and oppressive movement restrictions due to permits, checkpoints and the barrier”. He stressed that the time had come for Israel to fundamentally change its policies in this regard. However, he also emphasized that ordinary Israelis need reassurance that a future Palestinian State will guarantee their right to live in peace and security, and he stated that “indiscriminate rocket attacks that have caused loss of life, civilian suffering and damage to property in Israel are not only deeply unacceptable, but also totally counterproductive, and must cease”.
He also stated that the challenge is to begin implementing the transformative changes on the ground, and to kick-start a renewed and irreversible drive to achieve an Israeli-Palestinian agreement, stressing that resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is fundamental to the well-being of both peoples, the region and the world.
In their interventions members of the Council confirmed their hope that the commitments made by the parties would be commitments kept and that the parties must pursue an irreversible effort towards the two-State solution, including by fully implementing commitments on the ground. Council members also voiced concern about the situation in and around Gaza, including continued arms smuggling into Gaza and continued Hamas rocket fire from Gaza into Israel, as well as Israeli settlement activities undermining the contiguity and viability of the Occupied Palestinian Territory and jeopardizing the two-State solution, and the need for Palestinian reconciliation.
At the end of its meeting, the Council adopted a presidential statement (S/PRST/2009/14), read out by the Foreign Minister, in which the Council stressed the urgency of reaching comprehensive peace in the Middle East. It stated that vigorous diplomatic action is needed to attain the goal set by the international community — lasting peace in the region, based on an enduring commitment to mutual recognition, freedom from violence, incitement and terror, and the two-State solution, building upon previous agreements and obligations.
The Council also voiced support for the proposal of the Russian Federation to convene, in consultation with the Quartet and the parties, an international conference on the Middle East peace process in Moscow in 2009.