Statement by the President of the Security Council

   At the 5584th meeting of the Security Council, held on 12 December 2006, in connection with the Council’s consideration of the item entitled “The situation in the Middle East”, the President of the Security Council made the following statement on behalf of the Council:

    “The Security Council expresses its deep concern over the situation in the Middle East, with its serious ramifications for peace and security, and underlines the need to intensify efforts to achieve a just, lasting and comprehensive peace in the region.
    “The Security Council stresses that there can be no military solution to the problems of the region and that negotiation is the only viable way to bring peace and prosperity to peoples throughout the Middle East.
    “The Security Council stresses that the parties must respect their obligations under previous agreements, including by putting an end to violence and all aspects of terrorism.
    “The Security Council expresses grave concern over the deteriorating humanitarian situation and calls for the provision of emergency assistance to the Palestinian people through the Temporary International Mechanism, international organizations and other official channels.
    “The Security Council welcomes the agreement between Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to establish a mutual ceasefire in Gaza.
    “The Security Council welcomes the steps taken by both sides to maintain the ceasefire and expresses its hope that it will lead to a sustained period of calm. It calls on both sides, therefore, to avoid any actions which could jeopardize further progress. It reiterates its call for an end to all aspects of terrorism and violence as set out in previous statements and resolutions.
    “The Security Council is mindful of the need to encourage steps to increase confidence in the peace process.
    “The Security Council reiterates its call for the Palestinian Authority Government to accept the three Quartet principles.
    “The Security Council reaffirms its profound attachment to the vision of two democratic states, Israel and Palestine, living side-by-side in peace and security, as envisaged in the Roadmap.
    “The Security Council underlines that action by the international community cannot be a substitute for determined measures by the parties themselves.
    “The Security Council encourages the parties to engage in direct negotiations.
    “The Security Council reaffirms the vital role of the Quartet and looks forward to its continued active engagement.
    “The Security Council reiterates the importance of, and the need to achieve a just, comprehensive, and lasting peace in the Middle East, based on all its relevant resolutions, including resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973), and 1515 (2003), the Madrid terms of reference and the principle of land for peace.”