Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations

Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations

Statement by Permanent Representative Vassily Nebenzia at a UN Security Council Meeting on the Middle East, including the Palestinian Question

Mr. President,

We are pleased to welcome Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Belgium Philippe Goffin. We thank Secretary-General Antonio Guterres for his statement. We are grateful to Special Coordinator Nikolai Mladenov for his report on the situation in the occupied Palestinian territories. We welcome Ahmed Aboul Gheit, the Secretary-General of the League of Arab States.

We firmly believe that the unresolved Palestinian issue remains one of the key factors of instability in the Middle East. It fuels extremist and radical sentiments and incites public resentment among ordinary Palestinians and Arabs.

Russia has always supported a fair solution of the Palestinian issue on the basis of the relevant resolutions of the UNSC and GA, the Madrid principles and the Arab Peace Initiative, which provide for the establishment of an independent, sovereign, territorially contiguous Palestinian state within the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital.

Our vision for the Palestinian-Israeli settlement coincides with the consolidated Arab assessments reflected in the final statement of the LAS Extraordinary Ministerial Meeting held in Cairo on 1 February this year. The European Union, in a special statement of 4 February, reaffirmed its commitment to the two-State solution.

The current U.S. Administration has attempted to propose another way to resolve the long-standing Palestinian-Israeli conflict. This way does not take into account the key elements of the universally recognized international legal framework of the Middle East peace process, enshrined in the resolutions of the UN Security Council, those of the UNGA and in the Arab Peace Initiative. We have said on many occasions that we will agree on a settlement plan that will be mutually acceptable to both parties. But what can we do when one party, the Palestinian one, considers the plan unfair and refuses to accept it? This plan proposes to address the key issues of the final status of the Palestinian territories - borders, settlements, East Jerusalem, refugees, fundamental security issues - through unilateral concessions. And how, in general, can a just solution be achieved unilaterally?

The only advantage of the current situation is that today the Palestinian problem has become the focus of world politics again, after the years of being in the background due to our prolonged expectations for the Americans to present their Middle East initiative in the context of turbulence in the Middle East region. The "Deal of the Century" has drawn attention to the urgent need to resolve the Palestinian question. We are convinced that this requires collective and coherent action by the international community to develop a fair and lasting solution for the Middle East.

Mr. President,

We believe that, in the current situation, it is necessary to intensify the work of the Quartet of international mediators, which is the only mechanism recognized by the UNSC to manage the Middle East peace process. Russia, as a member of the Quartet, is ready to contribute to finding compromise solutions, while acting in close coordination with Arab partners, Israel and Palestinians as well as with all other stakeholders.

The issue of bringing the Palestinians together to advance their national interests is getting more and more pressing. Russia is making efforts to restore inter-Palestinian unity, and welcomes the steps taken by our Egyptian colleagues in this regard.

In our confidential contacts with both Palestinians and Israelis, we will continue to urge them to act constructively with the goal to reach agreement on negotiated solutions to all existing problems.

We noted that despite the existing differences, today both Mahmoud Abbas, the President of Palestine, and Danny Danon, the representative of Israel, spoke about the necessity to continue negotiations. We hope that it will give us an opportunity to advance the Middle East settlement and to find a just solution to all problems. Against this background, we do not withdraw from the agenda the proposal to provide a Moscow venue for direct negotiations without any preconditions between the leaders of Israel and Palestine.

Thank you.