Statement by H.E. Prof. Ahmet Davutoğlu, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey, at the UN Secuirty Council Meeting on the Situation in the Middle East, Including the Palestinian Question

Ahmet Davutoğlu 11.05.2009
Mr. President,
Mr. Secretary-General,

I would like to thank the Russian Federation and Minister Lavrov for calling this timely meeting which has provided us with the opportunity to exchange views on the recent developments in the Middle East.

The dynamism of events and the pace of developments in the Middle East require the international community to be alert and active at all times. Despite all the frustrating problems in the region, we believe that there is no room for pessimism. On the contrary, recent diplomatic activities and the determination of the international community to achieve the ultimate objective of establishing peace and stability in the region have raised our hopes for the future.

As the problems in the region have become interrelated, it is no longer feasible to address them in isolation. We therefore need a comprehensive approach and believe that the peace process should be reinvigorated in all its tracks without further delay.

Dear colleagues,

The Palestinian problem and the Arab-Israeli conflict are at the top of our agenda.

The rift among the Palestinians has to come to an end. Palestinian groups have to find a common ground so as to tackle the outstanding issues, leading to a national unity government and paving the way for the conduct of presidential and legislative elections. Establishment of a strong Palestinian Administration with popular support is essential. Turkey hopes that national reconciliation talks between Palestinian groups will succeed and continues to support Egypt's efforts to this end.

We need to engage every Palestinian group which has the support of the Palestinian people and ensure that they all adhere to the principles of peace. In this context, we welcome the cessation of the launching of rockets as a positive and encouraging sign.

We hope that the new government in Israel will adopt a policy which will reinstate hopes for the peace process and renew the commitment to the two state solution. On the other hand, we are concerned with certain policies that could seriously hamper peace efforts. Among them are Jewish settlement activities; restrictions to the movement of Palestinian people and goods; actions and measures that could alter the character and status of Jerusalem and further isolate East Jerusalem from the rest of the Palestinian Territory. All these run contrary to the parties' obligations under the Road Map as well as the spirit of Annapolis and should be stopped. I would also like to emphasize that the Arab Peace Initiative provides a very sound basis for peace between Arab States and Israel, and Israel should give this Initiative the attention it deserves.

Dear Colleagues,

The Presidential Statement that we are going to adopt at the end of this meeting could have been more inclusive and precise. Nevertheless, we will join the consensus.

However, I would like to clarify our interpretation and understanding of the text before us.

Firstly, it must be emphasized that the objective of comprehensive peace can only be achieved through the reinvigoration of the peace process in all its tracks.

Secondly, we cannot turn a blind eye on the humanitarian situation in the Palestinian territories, particularly in Gaza. In this context, it is good to refer to the resolution 1860. But this is not enough. It is incumbent upon us to call for the full implementation of the resolution 1860 and address the humanitarian situation in Gaza by unimpeded provision and distribution of humanitarian assistance throughout the region.

Dear Colleagues,

One priority of Turkish foreign policy towards the region is to keep open dialogue channels with all parties and pursue an active policy of engagement. We welcome the fact that a growing number of countries have come to realize the merits of this policy and have adopted similar approaches.

We are committed to continue to contribute to the efforts towards a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East based on the vision of a region where two democratic states, Israel and Palestine, live side by side in peace within secure and recognized borders.

If hopes for peace are exhausted, this will only lead to more suffering of the peoples of the region and it will breed a fertile ground for extremism and terrorism which constitute a grave threat to us all.

In this perspective, it is my earnest hope that we will all be engaged in active diplomatic activities in the coming days. In this context, I am looking forward to the convening of international conference on the Middle East peace process in Moscow in 2009.

Dear Colleagues,

Before concluding, I wish to emphasize the fact that the Israelis and Palestinians are destined to live and work together. They can either choose to stay as enemies and suffer together or become good neighbors and friends, and prosper together. It is high time that the right choice is made.

Thank you.