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Department of Public Information (DPI)
16 December 2008
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York
SECRETARY-GENERAL, IN SECURITY COUNCIL STATEMENT, CALLS FOR UNITY OF PURPOSE
WHILE STRESSING VITAL NEED TO CONCLUDE ISRAELI-PALESTINIAN PEACE PROCESS
Following is the text of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s statement to the Security Council Ministerial-Level Meeting on the Situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian Question, in New York, 16 December:
This is a very important meeting for the cause of peace in the Middle East, and for the central role of the Security Council in achieving it.
For 13 months since Annapolis, Israelis and Palestinians have been negotiating continuously on all the core issues between them. The Palestinian Authority has been pursuing genuine measures of self-empowerment in the West Bank, improving security and economic life for its citizens, in a framework of increased Israeli-Palestinian partnership. And the international community has been devoting new effort with the parties to secure implementation of Road Map commitments on the ground.
We had hoped by now to be marking the conclusion of a peace agreement, and turning our sights to its implementation. We all regret that this is not the case. And we know we still face many hurdles. But a serious process is under way. We must ensure that what has been started is seen all the way through to its conclusion.
We know what that conclusion must be. The occupation that began in 1967 must end. All people in the Middle East should be able to enjoy peace and full security. Palestinians must see the establishment of a State of Palestine alongside Israel, to coexist with it in peace and security. And Israel and the Arab world must come to live together in a comprehensive regional peace.
As we enter 2009, we must stabilize the situation on the ground, in the West Bank and Gaza, and ensure that all tracks of the process are intensified. We must maintain our unity and redouble our efforts, all of us: Israelis and Palestinians; the regional countries and the Arab League as a whole; the Quartet, including the incoming United States Administration; and this Council.
As Secretary-General of the United Nations, I am deeply and firmly committed to the goal of a just, lasting and comprehensive peace in the region, based on Security Council resolutions 242, 338, 1397, 1402 and 1515, the principle of land for peace, the Madrid terms of reference, and the Arab Peace Initiative. And I hope the Council acts today to help set us firmly, finally and irreversibly on the path to peace in the Middle East.
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