Explanation of vote on the situation in the Middle East - Security Council Joint Statement of the United Kingdom, France and Germany

Feb 18, 2011

Explanation of Vote  - delivered by Sir Mark Lyall Grant, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the UK Mission to the UN, on the UNSC Resolution on Palestine

Thank you Madam President,

I am delivering this statement on behalf of the United Kingdom, France and Germany.

The United Kingdom, France and Germany are seriously concerned about the current stalemate in the Middle East Peace Process. We each voted in favour of the draft Security Council Resolution because our views on settlements, including in East Jerusalem, are clear: they are illegal under international law, an obstacle to peace and constitute a threat to a two-state solution. All settlement activity, including in East Jerusalem, should cease immediately.

Our primary goal remains a just and lasting resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. We will continue to work actively to turn this ambition into reality: the creation of a sovereign, independent, democratic, contiguous and viable Palestinian State living in peace and security side by side with Israel.

Our views are clearly set out in the EU’s Foreign Affairs Council Conclusions, most recently in December 2009 and 2010. We believe that Israel’s security and the realisation of the Palestinians’ right to statehood are not opposing goals. On the contrary they are intimately intertwined objectives.

We therefore call on both parties to return as soon as possible to direct negotiations towards a two-state solution, on the basis of clear parameters.

For those negotiations to be successful, they will need to achieve:

— An agreement on the borders of the two states, based on June 4 1967 lines with equivalent land swaps as may be agreed between the parties.

— Security arrangements that, for Palestinians, respect their sovereignty and show that the occupation is over; and, for Israelis, protect their security, prevent the resurgence of terrorism and deal effectively with new and emerging threats.

— A just, fair and agreed solution to the refugee question.

— Fulfillment of the aspirations of both parties for Jerusalem. A way must be found through negotiations to resolve the status of Jerusalem as the future capital of both states.

Despite the challenges ahead, the key elements of a solution are well known. Thanks to work commended by the international community as a whole, the Palestinian Authority has developed the capacity to run a democratic and peaceful state, founded on the rule of law and living in peace and security with Israel. Further delay will reduce rather than increase the prospects for a solution.

We therefore look to both parties to return to negotiations as soon as possible on this basis. Our goal remains an agreement on all final status issues and the welcoming of Palestine as a full member of the United Nations by September 2011. We will contribute to achieving this goal in any and every way that we can.

Thank you.

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