The Group of Arab Member States (the Arab Group) of the United Nations (UN) called upon the international community to build new international momentum aimed at breaking the deadlock in the Middle East peace process and to relaunch a credible process based on international legal frameworks.
The Permanent Mission of the UAE to the UN, in its capacity as the Chair of the Arab Group for January 2021, submitted a written statement to the UN Security Council for its open quarterly debate – held on a ministerial level – on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question. The Arab Group welcomed the new Special Coordinator of the Middle East peace process, Tor Wennesland, and expressed appreciation for the tireless efforts of his predecessor Nikolay Mladenov.
The Arab Group underscored the need to end the illegal practices threatening the two-state solution based on the pre-1967 borders and the need to create an environment conducive for serious negotiations to resume – within a specific time frame – to end the Israeli occupation and achieve a just and comprehensive peace. The Arab Group noted that this requiresthe implementation of all relevant UN Security Council resolutions, the cessation of illegal measures impeding the peace process – foremost among them the building and expanding of settlements – and for Israel to completely abandon any plan to annex Palestinian lands due to the potentially devastating impact annexation would have on the two-state solution.
In this regard, the Arab Group condemned Israel’s recent announcement that it will build thousands of settlement units in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. The Arab Group also emphasized the need to preserve the historical and legal status quo of the holy sites in Jerusalem, especially Al-Aqsa Mosqueand Al-Haram Al-Sharif.
The Arab Group reaffirmed its support for President Mahmoud Abbas’s initiative and his call to the UN Secretary-General to work, in coordination with the International Quartet and the Security Council, to convene an international conference to mobilize the efforts of regional and international stakeholders to activate a multilateral international mechanism under the umbrella of the UN to sponsor the peace process in the Middle East. To this end, the Arab Group reiterated its readiness to work with the Security Council and the International Quartet to reach a just and comprehensive solution to the Palestinian issue in accordance with the Arab Peace Initiative.
Furthermore, the Arab Group also expressed concern for the deteriorating humanitarian, social, and economic conditions in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, which have worsened due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Noting that about47 percent of the Palestinian population is in need of assistance, the Arab Group stressed the need to support the Palestinian people in achieving Sustainable Development Goals, including by supporting UN agencies such as UNRWA. The Arab Group also emphasized the need to provide COVID-19 vaccines, in addition to the necessary medical supplies and equipment to confront the pandemic.
The Arab Group stressed the importance of finalizing the Palestinian national reconciliation process and enabling the Palestinian government to assume its full responsibilities in the Gaza Strip. In this regard, the Arab Group welcomed the presidential decree to hold legislative, presidential, and Palestinian National Council elections in Palestine this year. The Arab Group further stressed the importance of supporting the political participation of women and youth through the electoral process.
Additionally, the Arab Group renewed its support for Palestine to obtain full membership in the UN to enhance its legal and international standing.
The Arab Group concluded by underscoring that there is no alternative to the two-state solution and the achievement of the independence of a sovereign Palestinian state on the borders of June 4, 1967, with East Jerusalem as its capital.
Source: UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs