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UN official urges two-state solution to Israel- Palestine conflict


10:11, January 25, 2012

UNITED NATIONS, Jan. 24 (Xinhua) -- A senior UN political official said here Tuesday that Israel and Palestine must settle their differences to establish a two-state solution because the current situation will only lead to more conflict.

"The status quo only offers the guarantee of future conflict," UN assistant secretary-general for political affairs Oscar Fernandez Taranco said. "We must all do our part to secure a lasting peace that will end the occupation, end the conflict and realize the legitimate rights of all."

Taranco's statements came as he briefed the UN Security Council during an open council debate on the Middle East.

"The parties should now redouble their efforts to resolve all permanent status issues, end the conflict, and establish an independent, democratic, contiguous and viable Palestinian state living side by side in peace with a secure Israel, in accordance with relevant Security Council resolutions, the roadmap, and the Arab Peace Initiative," he said.

Direct negotiations between Israel and Palestine stalled in 2010, but preliminary meetings between officials from both countries, aimed at restarting talks have taken place in Jordan starting on Jan. 3, under the auspices of Jordanian King Abdullah.

Neither party, Taranco said, can afford to let the opportunity offered by the Jordan meetings pass by.

"We remain hopeful that the preparatory meetings between Israeli and Palestinian negotiators will continue and will ultimately lead to serious negotiations based on comprehensive proposals on territory and security, and reaching an agreement for a two-state solution by the end of this year, as envisaged by the Quartet," he said.

The two-state solution, widely endorsed by the international community, means a secure Israel to live in peace with an independent Palestinian State.

The diplomatic Quartet on the Middle East, consisting of the UN, the U.S., Russia, and the European Union (EU), issued a call in September 2011 for bilateral talks that will result in a new peaceful settlement by the end of 2012.

However, events on the ground have not helped ease tensions between Israelis and Palestinians, according to Taranco.

He pointed to the continued settlement activity of Israelis in the West Bank and "troubling" violence between Israeli settlers and Palestinians.

Taranco also repeated the call on Israel to lift its blockade of the Gaza Strip, which the country has enforced since Hamas took over the area in 2007.

"In the short term, we believe the full opening for the import of construction materials would bolster the legitimate Gazan economy and enable much needed reconstruction activities," he said. "It is important that exports are allowed to resume at scale, including transfers to the West Bankand Israel. These changes could be applied with due consideration for Israel's legitimate security concerns and could make a significant difference in the lives of many Gazans."


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