Statement by First Deputy Permanent Representative Dmitry Polyanskiy at UNSC open debate on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question
We thank Special Coordinator Tor Wennesland for the briefing. We listened carefully to the civil society representatives, Mr. Daniel Levy and Ms. Hanan Ashrawi. Mr. Macharia Kamau, we welcome your personal participation in this debate.
Ensuring lasting peace and security in the Middle East and Northern Africa region remains one of the main tasks on the Security Council agenda. We regret to say it, but so far there is no progress in resolving numerous regional crises there. It is also alarming that most conflicts are exacerbated by external interference. What’s more, the interfering actors attempt to promote unilateral “recipes” while totally ignoring opinions of the local population, communes, ethnic, religious and confessional groups.
Obviously, one of the basic components of sustainable stability in the region is promotion of Middle Eastern settlement with finding a just solution to the Palestinian problem at its core. Unfortunately, tension in the West Bank and Gaza does not abate, escalating the problems with maintaining the ceasefire, providing humanitarian support to the affected Palestinians, revitalizing the peace process. Against this backdrop, we see the continuation of unilateral actions that are fraught with dangerous consequences, among them expropriation and demolition of Palestinian property, construction of settlements (including construction plans for the occupied Syrian Golan Heights), arbitrary detentions, violations of the status of Holy Sites, violence. At the same time, we underscore that it is important to account for Israel’s security interests.
In this regard, we reiterate the call to reject provocative actions and unilateral steps. Middle Eastern settlement needs to be paralleled by international cooperation and collective steps. Our main task for the near term is provision of urgent humanitarian assistance to the affected people in Gaza who urgently need it. The work of UNRWA and the support of the Agency by the international community is needed more than ever.
We reiterate that the whole range of final status issues should be resolved during direct Palestinian-Israeli negotiations that need to start without delay. As a permanent member of the UN Security Council and the Quartet of international mediators for the Middle East, Russia is ready to undertake efforts in the interests of achieving a settlement within the internationally recognized parameters – UN resolutions, Madrid principles, and the Arab Peace Initiative, which provides for the creation of an independent, sovereign and territorially contiguous Palestinian state within 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital.
We call on our partners in the Quartet – the UN, the EU and the US – to intensify cooperation on these matters. On 14 October, we convened a scheduled on-line meeting of special representatives. We emphasize the importance of convening a ministerial meeting of the Quartet, i.a. in view of the upcoming 30th anniversary of the Madrid Conference on the Middle East. Also, we are ready to have dialogue with key regional stakeholders and engage them in the efforts of the Quartet.
We note that a number of states from the Middle East region have opted for a normalization of relations with Israel. We believe such efforts will have a positive bearing on the situation in the region only if finding a just solution to the Palestinian problem within the internationally recognized legal framework remains central to them. The recent escalation of tension around Gaza clearly demonstrated that there is no other way.
Russia engages actively with various Palestinian representatives in the interests of overcoming the internal division. We support the efforts of our Egyptian friends at this track. In particular, we welcome the Palestinian-Jordan-Egyptian summit that convened recently in Cairo. Hopefully, it becomes the first step towards improving the current dead-end status quo.