Following is UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ message to the United Nations International Media Seminar on Peace in the Middle East, in Ankara today:

I am pleased to greet the 2019 United Nations International Media Seminar on Peace in the Middle East.  I am grateful to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey for hosting this event and for its generous support.

Our goal of achieving a peaceful and just solution of the Palestinian question remains elusive.  As I have repeatedly said, this can only be achieved through realization of the vision of two States, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security.  Unfortunately, over the past year, we have only moved farther away from that objective as the situation has deteriorated.  Palestinians and Israelis continue to suffer from deadly cycles of violence.

The ongoing political, economic and humanitarian crisis in the Occupied Palestinian Territory has reached alarming proportions.  The situation in Gaza is of special concern as approximately 2 million Palestinians remain under severe movement and access restrictions, mired in increasing poverty and unemployment, with limited access to adequate health, education, water and electricity.

The international community must act with speed and determination to address Palestine’s urgent economic and humanitarian needs.  Yet no amount of humanitarian or economic support will resolve the conflict.  The United Nations remains committed to supporting Palestinians and Israelis to end the conflict on the basis of international law, relevant UN resolutions and previous agreements.  I count on your support and engagement in making peace in the Middle East a reality.

I wish you a successful seminar.

For information media. Not an official record.