The diplomatic Quartet guiding international efforts to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict must step up its pressure on the two sides to fulfil pledges they have made towards a possible comprehensive settlement, Jordan’s Foreign Minister told the General Assembly’s annual high-level debate today.
Salah Bashir said the Quartet – comprising the United Nations as well as the European Union, Russia and the United States – is indispensable to efforts to move “the political process towards reaching a peaceful solution, ending the Israeli occupation, dismantling the settlements in the Palestinian occupied territory.
“Also, the Quartet is necessary to fulfil the ambitions and hopes of the Palestinian people, in accordance with international legitimacy by ending the occupation and establishing its own national State on its national territory, including East Jerusalem, and the return of the refugees to their homes, cities and villages, which they were forced to leave in 1948.”
Mr. Bashir said the negotiating track launched last year in the US city of Annapolis, which Jordan supports, was now reaching a vital stage.
“The last months of this year will be critical in the journey of these negotiations,” he said, urging the Quartet and the wider international community to “demand the parties” fulfil the pledges they made as part of the Road Map, which foresees two States eventually living side by side in peace.
After meeting on Friday at UN Headquarters in New York, the Quartet called on Palestinians to commit themselves to non-violence and recognition of Israel, and on Israel to freeze all settlement activity, including natural growth, and to dismantle outposts erected since March 2001.
Mr. Bashir said it was critical that Israel has the political will to solve the conflict, and that the daily living conditions of the Palestinians are improved and their state institutions strengthened.
“This will require mending the rift in Palestine against the backdrop of the Arab peace initiative [a 2003 proposal for resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict] and to promote the position of the Palestinian Authority in negotiation and strengthen it on the international arena.”