Statement by Dmitry Polyanskiy, First Deputy Permanent Representative of Russia to the UN, at the VTC of UNSC members on the situation in the Middle East, including Palestinian question
We welcome you as the Chair of the Security Council. We thank Special Coordinator Nickolay Mladenov for the briefing, we listened carefully to Mr. Daniel Levy and Mr. Khalil Shikaki.
The situation in the Middle East remains in the spotlight due to numerous conflicts and crises affecting peoples and countries of the region. Unfortunately, problems that are underlying these crises still persist. What raises even greater concern is the fact that crises are either generally provoked from outside or complicated by external interference. This is complicated by the conviction of those who interfere that they know how to solve a particular issue, and are trying to promote one-sided approaches. Opinions of local population, tribal, ethnic, and religious groups are often ignored. The core principles of international assistance in overcoming crisis phenomena is being twisted. The international community, primarily the UN, should help countries to break the deadlock themselves, prevent conflicts, and render mediation efforts. Our starting point should be the principle of "do no harm."
The Palestinian question is central to the entire Middle East. We have passed the date of July 1, after which the Israeli parliament threatened to begin discussing plans for the annexation of the West Bank of the Jordan River. No action has yet been taken, but it is important to understand that implementation of these plans may close the door for prospects for the two-state principle of the settlement and might lead to the consequences that would only exacerbate the situation. We see no alternative to two states – Palestine and Israel – peacefully coexisting. In this regard, we reaffirm the call to abandon provocative actions and unilateral steps. International cooperation and joint steps must accompany the Middle East peace settlement. At the same time, we note again that the whole range of issues of final status should be resolved in direct negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis. These negotiations should be launched as soon as possible.
As a permanent member of the UN Security Council and the Quartet of international mediators Russia is ready to undertake efforts in the interests of achieving a settlement within the internationally recognized parameters - UN resolutions, Madrid principles, the Arab Peace Initiative - which provide for the creation of an independent, sovereign and territorially contiguous Palestinian state within 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital. We urge our partners in the Quartet - the United Nations, the EU and the United States - to intensify our cooperation. We are also ready for dialogue with key regional players within the Quartet’s efforts.
Apart from these fundamental issues, it is important not to forget about daily challenges: continuation of settlement activity, demolition of Palestinian property and eviction, clashes and the threat of missile launches on Israeli territory. Coronavirus multiplied these problems, which can only be overcome collectively. We share the concern about the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip which is continuously worrying. The work of UNRWA and the support of the Agency by the international community is needed more than ever. We call for the Palestinian unity and are actively cooperating with various Palestinian representatives in helping them overcome internal split, supporting efforts of our Egyptian friends.
To conclude, I would like to stress once again that the solution can only be viable if it is based on the internationally recognized principles, and if both parties agree to it in the process of negotiations. No recipes or plans disregarding this reality, let alone clearly rejected by one of the sides, can be imposed or become a deal-breaker. We also reaffirm that any attempts to divert the attention of the international community and put the blame on other regional actors, no matter how big and influential they are, will not lead Palestinians and Israelis to a feasible solution to the current situation.
I thank you.