Statement by Ambassador Baki İlkin, Permanent Representative of Turkey to the UN, at the Security Council Open Debate on "The Situation in the Middle East"

Baki İlkin 18.12.2008
Mr. President,

The objective set at Annapolis to reach an Israeli - Palestinian Peace Treaty by the end of this year appears unlikely to be achieved. Yet, we should welcome the parties' determination to continue uninterrupted negotiations. Permanent peace can only be achieved through direct and intensive negotiations.

It is with this thought that Turkey welcomes the UN Security Council Resolution 1850 as it underlines the irreversibility of the Annapolis process and the significance of the Arab Peace Initiative.

The resolution also recommits the parties to their previously agreed obligations. This, we believe, is of particular importance since the situation on the ground will have a direct impact on the success of the process.

Mr. President,

In order to maintain the momentum in the Israeli - Palestinian track at this critical juncture, neither party should take any action which might undermine the peace process and prejudice the final status negotiations.

In this respect, the Israeli settlement activities in West Bank and East Jerusalem must end. The construction of the separation wall must be stopped. The daily difficulties of Palestinians at checkpoints and road blocks must be eased. Immediate steps must be taken to halt the rapid deterioration of the humanitarian situation in Gaza.

The Palestinian people should be able to feel that what the future has in store for them is a better, brighter and dignified life. The Palestinian people should also be able to put an end to internal divisions.

On their part, the Israeli people should be able to feel secure and confident about a stable and peaceful future, free from threats. Thus, the security concerns of Israel must be addressed.

Mr. President,

We all know that the problems of the region are interlinked. Therefore, what is needed is a comprehensive peace. It is with this understanding that we welcome the proximity talks between Israel and Syria; the establishment of diplomatic relations between Lebanon and Syria as well as the tangible developments in Lebanon in the implementation of Doha Agreement. We believe that the people of Lebanon will further promote and carry forward the recent positive developments in their country.

We also hope and expect the resumption of the indirect talks between Israel and Syria after the elections in Israel.

Mr. President,

We agree with the Nobel Prize winner Mr. Ahtisaari that "all conflicts can be settled and there are no excuses for allowing them to be eternal". A permanent and comprehensive peace in the Middle East is indeed long overdue and should be in sight.

With this belief, Turkey will continue to work for a comprehensive peace based on a two state settlement and to contribute to the stability, security and prosperity of the region.

Thank you.