The Security Council today expressed support for the statement issued in New York on 20 September by the Quartet and urged the Government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority to cooperate, along with other parties concerned, with the efforts to achieve the goals set out in that statement.
Following a briefing by Alvaro de Soto, United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Council President Lauro Baja (Philippines) read out a presidential statement in which the Council called for renewed action in parallel by the Government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority on their obligations in accordance with the Road Map, to ensure continued progress towards the creation of an independent sovereign, democratic and viable State of Palestine living side by side with Israel in peace and security.
The Quartet statement, annexed to the presidential statement, had been issued after a meeting of Quartet representatives during a press conference on 20 September (see Press Release SG/SM/10115). Participating in the meeting were: United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan; Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov; United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice; High Representative for European Common Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana; and European Commissioner for External Relations Benita Ferrero-Waldner.
At the outset of the meeting, Mr. de Soto told the Council that in the early hours of 12 September, Israel had withdrawn the last of its military personnel and installations from the Gaza Strip, the fist such withdrawal from the Occupied Palestinian Territory since 5 June 1967. The Israeli Government, while facing vociferous opposition, had proved its ability to carry out democratic decisions in the general interest, while knowing that they would cause pain and disruption to a significant number of its citizens. Palestinian groups, by and large, held back from violent action against the settlers. The habit of coordination developed among Palestinians and Israelis in the last few months had been a valuable asset.
He said the objective benefits of the recently concluded disengagement were obvious. The Palestinians had experienced the joy of the departure of the occupier and the Israelis were no longer saddled with the unrewarding, “Sysiphus-like” grind of securing a piece of land in which squalor and resentment were untenably juxtaposed with prosperity. A basis had been laid for a true partnership, which should encourage each party to understand and address the other’s legitimate needs and concerns.
Through a mix of facts created on the ground and declarations of intent by Israel, many Palestinians wondered about the prospects for a viable Palestinian State down the road. Only Israel could persuade them that that was still achievable, and encourage them to work cooperative towards that goal. For their part, the Israelis had reason to query whether the State that was emerging next door would be a good neighbour. To renew the Israelis’ faith, the Palestinians would have to show they indeed would be such a neighbour, by making concrete and convincing efforts to end violence. Understanding each other’s needs and concerns, they would advance on parallel, mutually reinforcing tracks.
The meeting started at 10:20 a.m. with Mr. de Soto’s briefing, and was suspended at 10:50 a.m. for closed consultations. It resumed at 12:13 p.m. for issuance of the presidential statement and was adjourned at 12:15 p.m.
“The Security Council supports the Statement issued in New York on 20 September 2005 by the Quartet, which is annexed to this statement.
“The Security Council urges the Government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority to cooperate, along with other parties concerned, with the efforts to achieve the goals set out in the Quartet Statement.
“The Security Council calls for renewed action in parallel by the Government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority on their obligations in accordance with the Road Map, to ensure continued progress towards the creation of an independent, sovereign, democratic and viable State of Palestine living side by side with Israel in peace and security.
“The Security Council stresses the importance of, and the need to achieve, a just, comprehensive, and lasting peace in the Middle East, based on all its relevant resolutions including its resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973), 1397 (2002) and 1515 (2003), the Madrid terms of reference and the principle of land for peace.