New York

22 September 2009

Secretary-General's message to meeting of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee [delivered by Mr. B. Lynn Pascoe, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs]

I am pleased to send a warm welcome to Palestinian Prime Minister Fayyad and to all the distinguished representatives attending this meeting of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee. I thank Foreign Minister Store for the key role that Norway continues to play in convening and chairing this forum.

The Palestinian Authority's achievements in security, the economy, financing, reform and planning over the past two years are unprecedented. These efforts have now been given deeper significance and broader ambition by the programme announced on 25 August. I strongly support the Palestinian Authority's plan to complete the building of the state apparatus for Palestine in two years, and pledge the UN's full assistance.

The significance of this goal should not be lost on any of us. Nor can we underestimate the urgency of the moment. Either we move forward, towards two States living side-by-side in peace, or backwards towards renewed conflict, deeper despair and long-term insecurity and suffering for Israelis and Palestinians alike. The status quo is untenable. I hope it will be possible to launch without further delay negotiations for an end of occupation and an end of conflict, based on clear commitments to and implementation of the Roadmap, including a settlement freeze.

In parallel with efforts on the political track, work on the ground must intensify. For the Palestinian Authority, this means continuing its engagement with the challenges ahead. For Israel, this means broader action to ease movement and access restrictions and to enable Palestinian growth, building on the positive steps taken so far. For donors, this means continued support to the Palestinian Authority, including budget support, and the alignment of programming behind Palestinian national priorities.

The long-term impact of what is happening currently in Gaza can only undermine efforts to build a Palestinian State and achieve peace between Israelis and Palestinians. Progress on the core elements of Security Council resolution 1860 is essential. In addition to calling for continued and expanded humanitarian assistance, the United Nations has proposed in concrete terms how to kickstart civilian reconstruction in Gaza, under our auspices, and the Palestinian Authority and the Quartet have given their full support. I appeal once again to the Government of Israel to allow without delay the entry of material into Gaza to make a meaningful start in addressing the massive civilian recovery needs.

Thank you again for your support. I look forward to continuing our shared efforts to support the Palestinian Authority in its drive for self-empowerment, and I wish you well in your deliberations.