Israel, Palestine must avoid unilateral action that could prejudice final status issues: India at UN
United Nations: Reiterating that only a two-state solution will deliver enduring peace that the people of Israel and Palestine deserve, India has said this should be achieved through direct negotiations between both sides on final status issues and any unilateral action which could prejudice these issues must be avoided.
India’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador K Nagaraj Naidu said on Friday at the UN Security Council meeting on ‘The situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question’ that New Delhi reaffirms its support to the Palestinian cause and the establishment of a sovereign, viable and independent State of Palestine living side by side in peace and security with Israel.
“We firmly believe that only a two-state solution will deliver enduring peace that the people of Israel and Palestine desire and deserve. This should be achieved through direct negotiations between both sides on final status issues. Both sides must avoid any unilateral action which could prejudice these final status issues,” he said.
Naidu termed the recent diplomatic efforts to revive the stalled peace talks as encouraging and added that the meeting of the Quartet’s Special Envoys is timely. India urged the Quartet to initiate engagement with the Israeli and the Palestinian leadership.
“India welcomes all efforts, which are aimed at strengthening the collective commitment of the international community to resume direct negotiations and facilitate the peace process,” Naidu said.
Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process and Personal Representative of the Secretary-General Tor Wennesland told the Council meeting that the global community is focused on helping the parties return to the negotiating table.
Earlier this month, the League of Arab States reiterated its support for the establishment of an independent and sovereign Palestinian State based on the 1967 lines, with East Jerusalem as its capital. The Envoys of the Middle East Quartet – Russia, United States, European Union and United Nations – met virtually on February 15 to discuss the political developments, with all agreeing to meet on a regular basis.
Naidu also added that India is pleased to note that preparations for the Palestinian elections are moving forward. The Cairo agreement between the Palestinian parties on the conduct of parliamentary and presidential elections – to abide by the electoral timetable, accept the results of the election and on other election related arrangements – is a positive step in the right direction, he said.
Noting that the commitment undertaken by all parties to release political detainees will also help build trust between them, India acknowledged Egypt’s efforts in facilitating this agreement. The high percentage of Palestinians, who have registered to vote in the elections, reflects their desire to take part in the democratic process, he said.
Wennesland said the holding of free and fair elections in the Palestinian Territory will help “clear the path” for restoring a legitimate political horizon to realise a long sought two-State solution.
The elections will provide a crucial step towards re-establishing Palestinian national unity – and renewing the legitimacy of national institutions, including a democratically elected Legislative Council and Government in Palestine, he said.
Naidu added that the opening of Rafah border crossing is a significant development, which will ease the humanitarian and health situation in Gaza.
India stressed that the pandemic’s impact on the people of Gaza has been particularly severe due to the fragile health-care infrastructure.
Noting that COVID-19 vaccines are being made available to the people of Palestine, including in Gaza, Naidu said India strongly believes that “equity in access” to vaccines across the world is important for mitigating the impact of the pandemic.
India has provided critical medicines and medical equipment to Palestine as COVID-19 assistance and is now in the process of sending a second batch of medicines as a grant to the Palestinian people in the coming weeks.
“We will also facilitate an early supply of vaccines to Palestine,” Naidu said.
On COVID vaccination prospects, Wennesland welcomed the announcement of the Palestinian vaccination strategy and the initial allocation to the Palestinian Ministry of Health of 37,440 doses of vaccines by the COVAX-AMC facility.