ALYAKSANDR SYCHOU (Belarus) said the Wye River Memorandum was the sign of a breakthrough in efforts to revive the agreements necessary to the peace process in the Middle East. The prolonged lack of progress until now had given rise to tensions in the region, especially among the Palestinian people. In giving impetus to the Madrid and Oslo agreements, the recent Memorandum should again create an atmosphere of mutual trust among the parties.
The compromise at Wye River was a clear reaffirmation that even the most difficult conflicts could be resolved by peaceful and political means, he said. He hoped the agreements would be applied through scrupulous implementation by both parties. Although already many steps had been taken to implement the Wye agreement, both parties still had much to do to achieve the practical realization of the Memorandum.
He said both parties must resist the extremist forces who were trying to prevent progress in the peace process. Terrorism was not the answer and such elements must not be allowed to threaten progress. He applauded actions which the Palestinian Authority had taken to stop extremist forces in the territory under its control. He was concerned by the continued practice of building Israeli settlements in Gaza. Also, Israel's decision to extend the municipal boundaries of Jerusalem was unacceptable. It was necessary for intergovernmental organizations and non-governmental organizations to step up their activities to support the Palestinian people. He hoped the success in the Palestinian-Israeli talks would create the necessary conditions for the resumption of talks between Israel, Syria and Lebanon.