Statement by Mr. Fazlı Çorman, Charge D'Affaires a.i. and Deputy Representative of Turkey to the UN, at the Security Council Open Debate on ''The Situation in the Middle East''

Fazlı Çorman 27.07.2009
Mr. President,

As Turkey aligned itself with the statement to be delivered by Sweden on behalf of the European Union, I will keep my remarks brief.

First, I would like to thank Mr. Oscar Fernandez-Taranco, Assistant-Secretary General for Political Affairs, for his briefing.

As the international efforts to reinvigorate the search for peace in the Middle East are underway, the expectation is building up in the international community for prompt resumption and early conclusion of negotiations to resolve all permanent status issues, as stated in the recent Quartet declaration.

Given the fact that there has been no functional process in the region for a while, the resumption of the peace process in all its tracks has become a matter of urgency.

At this stage, a strong affirmation is needed for the framework of peace as embodied in the relevant Security Council resolutions, Madrid Principles, Arab Peace Initiative and the road map obligations. It is crucial that we keep open dialogue channels with all parties and remain committed to the vision of two states living side by side in peace and security. This vision holds the key to a permanent peace in the Middle East and has no alternative.

In this respect, we also wish to note the particular importance of the Arab Peace Initiative which Turkey firmly supports.

As we hope to enter a new and intensive period, it is incumbent upon the parties to adopt a constructive and positive approach.

In this vein, they should first fulfill their obligations emanating from the Road Map and the relevant Security Council resolutions.

Second, the parties must also avoid taking steps and declaring preconditions that might empty the peace process of its contents.

The core issues are subject to final status negotiations and should not be undermined by unilateral acts. Any actions which prejudge the final outcome of the negotiations would only lead to further confidence-crisis among the parties.

Here, we wish to underline our concern, once again, regarding the settlement activities of Israel in the West Bank and East Jerusalem as well as the measures taken by Israel that could alter the character and status of Jerusalem and further isolate East Jerusalem from the rest of the Palestinian Territory. Turkey has repeatedly made it clear that such policies are not compatible with peace efforts and hamper the peace process. They are illegal and should stop.

Mr. President,

There is a constant need that the international efforts on the peace process must be accompanied by decisive actions on the ground to offer a real change for the Palestinians and to give them the chance to lead a better life.

At this point, we sadly note that there has been almost no progress in recent months on implementing resolution 1860. We reemphasize the fact that full opening of the crossings into Gaza is a must for humanitarian response, socio-economic recovery and reconstruction. The suffocation of Gaza has led to immense suffering, unprecedented unemployment and poverty rates and almost total aid dependency. This must be reversed.

I must also emphasize the fact that reconciliation among Palestinian groups is a must. We hope that talks to this end will succeed and that the presidential and legislative elections will be held at the appropriate time.

Mr. President,

As for Lebanon, we reaffirm our strong support for the resolution 1701 and its full implementation by all parties.

Following the elections in Lebanon, we hope that a Government that embraces all segments of the Lebanese people could be established as soon as possible.

At the current stage, it is essential that all parties in Lebanon should act in conformity with the national dialogue process initiated by President Michel Sleiman.

We believe that lasting stability in Lebanon is important not only to Lebanon itself, but also for the peace and security of the entire region.

In the Middle East, we need to maintain optimism in the face of the challenges surrounding the region. Currently, we have some developments that give us some hope. Let's keep in mind that opportunities don't usually remain long and it is the right time to seize it.

On our part, we continue to work for a viable and comprehensive peace on all tracks of the Middle East Peace Process.