Statement by Ambassador Vitaly I. Churkin, Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the United Nations, during the UN Security Council meeting on the situation in the Middle East
The Russian delegation, I am sure like many others in the Chamber, was puzzled by the process that unfolded around today’s resolution 2334 (2016). While the resolution has been worked on for many months, the apparent haste surrounding its adoption does not promote its ends.
For many years, our country has been involved in the Middle East peace process, first as co-chair of the Madrid process, then as a member of the Middle East Quartet and, of course, as a permanent member of the Security Council. Our experience confirms that the issue can be resolved only through direct and unconditional negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis. That is precisely what dictated our work to arrange a September meeting in Moscow between Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel and President Abbas of Palestine. The Palestinian side was ready to take part in the meeting.
Today, we voted in favour of the resolution on the Israeli settlements, convinced that it was based on tested language reflecting the general position of the international community on the illegality of Israeli settlement activity in the occupied Palestinian territories. We believe it important that the document also condemns violent acts against civilians and acts of terrorism and appeals to both sides to end the violence and the rhetoric of incitement and provocation, which only fuel an atmosphere of distrust and confrontation between Palestinians and Israelis. There is no doubt that such actions undermine the possibility of achieving a two-State solution to the Palestinian question.
Russia will continue working on reanimating the negotiations and restoring Palestinian unity based on the political platform of the Palestinian Liberation Organization and the Arab Peace Initiative. In that connection we confirm the importance of the ongoing work of the Quartet as an effective and approved mechanism of the Security Council in the Middle East peace process.
We also note that the July report of the Quartet (S/2016/595, annex) on the situation in the Palestinian- Israeli track is still very relevant as a strong signal from the international community to both sides of the conflict. Implementing the recommendations contained in the report would contribute to returning the peace process to the political track.