Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York
SECRETARY-GENERAL DELIVERS GEORGE HERBERT WALKER, JR. LECTURE, URGES STUDENTS
CONTINUE YALE’S PROUD TRADITION, STEER WORLD TOWARDS BETTER FUTURE
Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks, as prepared for delivery, at the Yale University George Herbert Walker, Jr. lecture series, in New Haven on 13 November:
I am honoured to deliver the George Herbert Walker lecture. I have been privileged to work with members of his family through the years, including both Presidents Bush, 41 and 43.
This is my first public opportunity to warmly congratulate President Obama on his re-election. I look forward to strengthening the U.S.-UN partnership even more in the years ahead. We share many goals, including ending the violence in Syria and getting the Middle East peace process back on track.
As the region undergoes fundamental changes, much is also at stake for Israel and the Palestinians. The cost of the continued stalemate and ongoing illegal settlements continues to rise with each passing day and each missed opportunity. The parties themselves, and the world at large, have a profound interest in a just and lasting peace.
A two-State solution remains the only viable option to end this conflict and the occupation that has endured for almost half a century. Realizing this vision requires more determination, not more delay.
The foundations for peace remain: UN Security Council resolutions, the Madrid principles, including land for peace, the road map, previous agreements between the parties and the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative.
As you know, the issue of Palestinian status at the United Nations is once again in the news. The Charter of the United Nations is clear. Such matters are solely in the hands of Member States.
I share the frustration that the two-State solution may seem ever more distant. As all involved now consider the options, we know actions have consequences. None of us would want to see harm to the prospects for peace. None of us should act in any way that would place a return to talks at risk. There can be no substitute for meaningful negotiations.
As I have warned repeatedly, without strong leadership by the parties and the international community, the two-State solution and the commendable institution-building achievements of the Palestinian Authority are in jeopardy.
I once again appeal to all those with influence: the Middle East peace process is on life support. Do not pull the plug. Breathe new life and hope now. The region and the world cannot wait.
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