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Déclaration d'ouverture du Secrétaire général au Comité de liaison ad hoc - Communiqué de presse (5 mai 2008)
Department of Public Information (DPI)
5 May 2008
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York
MIDDLE EAST NEGOTIATIONS MUST BE BACKED UP WITH 'REAL CHANGE ON THE GROUND',
SAYS SECRETARY-GENERAL TO LONDON MEETING
Following is UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s opening remarks to the meeting of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee in London, 2 May:
Let me thank you, Mr. Chairman and Mr. Foreign Secretary, for bringing us together at such a crucial time. Prime Minister Fayyad and Foreign Minister Livni, I am delighted that you were able to attend.
We meet at a vital juncture, just as the Quartet has issued a statement applauding the parties for their continued commitment to serious political negotiations. Now we must back up these negotiations with real change on the ground -- change that allows Palestinians and Israelis to believe in a positive future. Only in this way can we lend substance to the process, and send a clear message to people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and Israel that it is meaningful and beneficial to each side.
Following the initial steps by the parties, as well as by Quartet Representative Tony Blair, more needs to happen to translate these early achievements into enduring developments on the ground.
There will be several opportunities to demonstrate our commitment. President Bush’s visit to the region represents one such opportunity. The Palestinian Investment Conference in Bethlehem, and the Security Conference in Berlin, will represent other demonstrations of commitment over the next few weeks.
This Committee has a key role to play as a platform for peace and development for both Israel and Palestinians. The vision behind the Palestinian Reform and Development Plan is that all parties should contribute in parallel to economic improvement. Over the past six months, the cooperation framework has brought together the ongoing political dialogue with joint committees, the reform efforts made by the Palestinian Authority in a difficult environment, and the generous support pledged by donors in Paris.
Israel’s support is vital to Palestinian economic revival, reform and development, and I welcome its recent announcement of measures to ease conditions in the West Bank. Now, both parties need to continue their work to fully meet their obligations under the Road Map. Palestinians need to do more to ensure security, and Israel needs to further ease restrictions on permits, movement and access -- a precondition to any substantive economic progress.
I remain deeply concerned about the de facto separation of the two parts of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, and the continuing violence in Gaza. The humanitarian and economic situation there continues to deteriorate, and the civilian population is finding itself increasingly cut off from the world.
It is obvious that a new strategy is required -- one which ensures the passage of people, humanitarian and commercial goods, and which leads to the reunification of Gaza with the West Bank within the framework of the legitimate Palestinian Authority. I am heartened that there is strong Quartet consensus on this issue.
The UN will continue to provide critical humanitarian assistance in Gaza, and development support in the West Bank. It is critical that restrictions are eased on UN operations.
Finally, I look forward to hearing from the parties how they see the next few months. I’m sure I speak for all of us in saying that our priority is putting an immediate end to violence and bloodshed, stepping up creative efforts on addressing the situation in Gaza, and improving the economy.
Whatever the many and real difficulties ahead, let us remember that there is only one path for both peoples to achieve the peace, freedom, security and prosperity they deserve: a permanent political settlement leading to an end of the occupation that began in 1967; the establishment of a sovereign, viable, contiguous and democratic Palestinian State, living side by side in peace with a secure Israel; and an end of conflict, in accordance with Security Council resolutions.
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