|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Middle east negotiations must be backed up with ‘real change on the ground’,
Says Secretary-General to London meeting
Following is the text of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s opening remarks to the meeting of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee in London on 2 May:
Let me thank you, Mr. Chairman and Mr. Foreign Secretary, for bringing us together today. Prime Minister [Salam] Fayyad and Foreign Minister [Tzipi] Livni, I am delighted that you are with us.
We meet more than five months after Annapolis, and with the parties working to achieve the goal they set for themselves there -- a peace treaty that resolves all core issues by the end of this year. We commend the partnership they have established. As the Quartet stressed this morning, their negotiations must continue, should be supported, and need to be intensified.
We also meet seven months after the last [Ad Hoc Liaison Committee]. That meeting, and the subsequent commitments at Annapolis, marked a renewed compact between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, with strong international support, to bring about real change on the ground, through implementation of Phase 1 of the Road Map, support to and reform of the Palestinian Authority, and rejuvenation of the Palestinian economy.
As we review where we stand today, we can say this: through the efforts of many, we have got the ball rolling, but it is simply not rolling fast enough. More needs to happen -- much more -- if the process begun together last year is going to reach the goals set for this year.
I commend what Prime Minister Fayyad and his Government have achieved to date, and the plans they have to do more. No Government since the creation of the Palestinian Authority has done so much in such a short time under such difficult conditions -- on finances, reform, planning, and security. There are areas where performance has been uneven and needs to improve. I am sure even our Palestinian colleagues would agree with that. But let us be clear. The Palestinian Government deserves not only to be commended -- it deserves to be fully supported. This is a Government that must be enabled to succeed.
I commend the steps that Israel has taken to date, including initial steps to remove some obstacles to movement in the West Bank. I am sure that our Israeli colleagues would agree that, when measured against the commitments that have been made and the depth of the problems on the ground, more needs to happen, quickly, to enable a decisive change in the status quo. I know this is difficult to do. I don’t underestimate that. But progress is a vital precondition to any Palestinian economic recovery, and to the sustainability of the political process itself.
I commend the support being given to this process by many donors, the efforts of Quartet Representative Tony Blair, and the plans in place for a Palestinian investment conference in Bethlehem and a security conference in Berlin. I encourage all donors to meet the generous pledges made in Paris, and to remain fully committed to the process under way.
Finally, I come to Gaza. The humanitarian and economic situation there continues to deteriorate. The potential for a deeper security crisis affecting the Palestinians, Israel and Egypt is all too real. The situation there has the potential to undermine all our common efforts. As the Quartet has just agreed, a different and more positive strategy for Gaza is urgently required, for the sake of all the partners around the table here today.
We must support all efforts to bring an end to the violence, and ensure the passage of people, humanitarian and commercial goods.
Whatever the many and real difficulties ahead, let us remember that there is only one path for both peoples to achieve the peace, freedom, security and prosperity they deserve: a permanent political settlement leading to an end of the occupation that began in 1967; the establishment of a sovereign, viable, contiguous and independent Palestinian State, living side by side in peace with a secure Israel; and an end of conflict, in accordance with Security Council resolutions.
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* Reissued for technical reasons.For information media • not an official record