U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations Ambassador Susan E. Rice today stressed Palestinian efforts to seek member-state status at the United Nations will not advance the peace process but rather will complicate, delay, and perhaps derail prospects for a negotiated settlement.
At an open debate of the Security Council on the Middle East, Ms. Rice said the United States continues to work vigorously with the parties, the Quartet, and our international partners to resume negotiations on the basis of the September 23rd Quartet statement.
“That statement provides a clear and credible path back to the negotiating table, which is the only path to achieve the two-state solution we all seek. The Quartet statement reaffirms President Obama’s vision for peace as laid out in his May remarks.” -Ms. Rice
She highlighted that President Abbas and Prime Minister Netanyahu have each agreed to send negotiators to Jerusalem for preparatory meetings with the Quartet envoys on October 26th.
“Thus, our focus remains on laying the groundwork for these and subsequent meetings leading to the two parties exchanging comprehensive proposals on territory and security by the end of the year, as outlined in the Quartet’s timeline.” -Ms. Rice
She urged all members of the Council and all member states to unite to help create a positive climate for resuming negotiations.
She stressed that ultimately, it is the Israelis and the Palestinians who must live side by side. She said only they can reach agreement on the painful issues that divide them: borders and security, refugees, and Jerusalem.
“Therefore, we have consistently opposed such unilateral initiatives. We will continue at the same time to exert every effort to bring the parties back to the negotiating table.” -Ms. Rice
She noted that like every American administration for decades, the Obama administration does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlement activity. She added that the fate of existing settlements is one that must be dealt with by the parties, along with the other permanent-status issues, including the status of Jerusalem.
“Steps by the Government of Israel to advance significant new construction in Givat Hamatos are deeply disappointing.” -Ms. Rice
She cited that the illegal trafficking of weapons in Gaza continues to pose a serious threat to civilians in Gaza, in Israel, and in Egypt. She said it must be stopped. With regard to Hamas, we reaffirm the importance of fulfilling the Quartet principles’ commitment to nonviolence, recognition of Israel’s right to exist, and recognition of previous agreements.
“We call again on Palestinians and Israelis to take constructive actions to promote peace and to avoid actions that complicate this process or undermine trust.” -Ms. Rice
Ms. Rice stated the United States is very pleased that Gilad Shalit has finally been reunited with his family after five long years in captivity.