Security Council speakers laud Saudi proposal, other Middle East initiatives
As the United Nations Security Council wrapped up on Wednesday evening its debate on the volatile situation in the Middle East, new ideas for resolving the conflict – including Saudi Arabia’s recent proposal – received close attention from many speakers who stressed the need for the Israeli and Palestinian sides to return to the negotiating table.
Asserting that “it is the Arabs who seek peace and good-neighbourly relations and are the ones who made peace a strategic option,” Saudi Arabian Ambassador Fawzi Bin Abdul Majeed Shobokshi said “the initiative of the Crown Prince and Deputy Prime Minister was welcomed and supported throughout the world.”
“The total withdrawal of the Israeli forces of occupation from the territories occupied in 1967 will ensure security and stability and allow the Palestinian people to exercise its right to self-determination and to create its own State, with Jerusalem as its capital,” he said. “A withdrawal from the Sheba’a farmlands and the Syrian Golan Heights will reinforce good-neighbourliness, security and stability.”
The Council’s two-hour session on Wednesday night was a continuation of the debate that had begun on Tuesday. During the two days, representatives of some 40 countries took part in the discussion, many of whom expressed support for the Saudi proposal while urging the consideration of other new ideas to end the bloodshed and re-start talks among parties in the troubled region.
“Like others, we are encouraged by the reports of new thinking attributed to Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia,” said Australian Ambassador John Dauth. “However, violence must be halted and lead to a durable ceasefire in order to rebuild the confidence necessary for a return to negotiations,” he added.
Saying his country also appreciated “new and interesting ideas for consideration, such as that put forward by the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia,” Chilean representative Juan Gabriel Valdes urged the international community to continue assisting the parties.
The Ambassador of Ukraine, Valery Kuchinsky, said his country saw “merit in proposals coming from the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia and from European countries, as well as in the so-called Peres-Abu’Alaa peace plan.” Those proposals, he added, “might bring about new prospects for peace, and should therefore be carefully considered by the parties and the international community.”
Japan’s delegate, Motohide Yoshikawa, joined others in welcoming “the fact that initiatives have recently been proposed from several quarters, in particular by Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia.”