FM addresses UN as Palestine representative for first time

BETHLEHEM, January 24, 2013 (Ma’an) – For the first time, the Palestinian Authority’s Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki addressed the UN Security Council as a representative of a world-recognized state on Wednesday.

“A new era has begun,” Riyad al-Malki said, adding that the General Assembly’s acceptance of Palestine as a non-member state marked “the turning point for making peace and security a reality between the Palestinian and Israeli peoples.”

According to the foreign minister, the window for the two-state solution is rapidly closing and added: “There can be no one in this chamber today who can deny this.”

Settlements were presented as the main obstacle to the two-state solution and Al-Malki said that a halt to construction of settlements was a legal obligation and not a precondition.

Since the UN’s acceptance of Palestine as a state, Israel has “persisted with the path of occupation and conflict and fear-mongering,” al-Malki said, pointing to Israel’s increased settlement building and withholding of Palestinian revenue.

The foreign minister also addressed the Security Council with hopes that it would pass a request from September 2011 to accept Palestine as a full member state of the UN.

UN viability ‘increasingly at stake’

Special coordinator for the Mideast peace process, UN envoy Robert Serry also addressed the council: “Regional and international partners are increasingly alarmed that the only way to resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict in accordance with Security Council resolutions and international law is slipping away.”

Serry noted Israel’s “dramatic increase” in settlement announcements and withholding of Palestinian Authority revenue. He called on Israel to resume transfers of Palestinian funds “without delay.”

“Ultimately, there is no future for the Palestinian Authority without a two-state solution,” he added.

Serry also expressed concern at Israel’s increased use of live fire in the West Bank and briefed the council on a rise in Israeli operations and arrests, as well as tensions in security coordination between Israel and the PA.

Concluding, Serry stressed that Israeli and Palestinian leaders must seriously engage in efforts toward a two-state solution, warning that “the consequences for inaction could be dire for everyone.”

Source: MA’AN News