Statement by First Deputy Permanent Representative Dmitry Polyanskiy at UNSC briefing on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question
We thank Mr.Tor Wennesland for delivering a meaningful briefing on the state of affairs of the Middle Eastern settlement. We also closely followed the remarks by Ms.Ero. It is rather symbolic that this meeting is taking place after the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.
It is with great concern that we watch the Middle Eastern settlement process stagnate, with its core issue, the Palestinian problem, remaining unsolved and generating lasting instability for the entire Middle East. Unfortunately, we have to state that tension around the West Bank and the Gaza Strip does not decline. There are remaining risks of large-scale hostilities, like the armed escalation that we all witnessed in May this year.
In this context, the international community has the following urgent tasks to perform: ensure stabilization, provide humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian people, create conditions for resumption of the Israeli-Palestinian settlement within the universally recognized international legal framework.
We believe it important to set forth efforts aimed at consolidating the international consensus and coordinating the joint action in the interests of finding a just solution to the Palestinian problem. In this context, we give a positive assessment to the outcomes of the ministerial meeting of the Ad-Hoc Liaison Committee that convened in Oslo. We commend Norway’s contribution to organizing this event that proved that the global community’s attention to the problem of the Middle East settlement does not decline.
On the sidelines of the Committee, the Middle East Quartet of international mediators (which remains the only internationally-recognized mechanism to supervise the Palestinian-Israeli settlement) convened its first in several years in-person meeting, where a statement in support of efforts promoting the Middle Eastern settlement was adopted. We are committed to boosting the activity of the Quartet, and we call on our partners in this format to respond positively to the initiatives that we put forward earlier, i.a. our proposal to hold a ministerial meeting of the Quartet, and consultations of the extended format with participation of the states of the region. At the same time, we count on support of the international community for these initiatives.
On our part, we continue interacting with all parties and interested international and regional stakeholders. On 23 November, President Putin met with President Abbas in Sochi to reiterate our principled position with regard to the Middle Eastern settlement: a two-state solution within the agreed international parameters. The Palestinian side also reconfirmed readiness to a dialogue that should proceed on a universally agreed basis.
Unfortunately, against this background, illegal unilateral actions fraught with dangerous ramifications continue: expropriation and demolition of Palestinian property, construction of settlements, arbitrary detentions and arrests, violation of status of the Holy Sites. We were deeply concerned to hear about Israel’s plans to expand its settlement activity in the West Bank and Eastern Jerusalem, in the Givat Hamatos district. Continuation of settlement-building and claims to double the number of Israelis living in the Jordan Valley by 2026 can be considered as de facto annexation of the major part of the occupied Palestinian territory. Mr.President,
We attach great significance to rendering comprehensive humanitarian assistance to people in the West Bank and Gaza, as well as Palestinian refugees in neighboring Arab states. Against this backdrop, we are extremely worried over the reports about UNRWA’s remaining financial constraints. The activity of the Agency has not only a humanitarian, but also a political dimension, as it produces a stabilizing effect both in the Palestinian territories and in Middle Eastern states. The leadership of UNRWA is taking praiseworthy efforts to enhance efficiency and reduce costs. Russia will continue supporting the Agency, and we call upon the global community to follow suit.