Statement by Mr. Fazlı Çorman, Deputy Permanent Representative of Turkey to the United Nations, at the 63. Session of the General Assembly on Agenda Item 15: The Situation in Middle East

Fazlı Çorman 25.11.2008
Mr. President,

As Turkey aligned itself with the statement delivered by the distinguished representative of France on behalf of the European Union, I will keep my remarks brief.

Mr. President,

Although we had a turbulent start this year in the Middle East, the ensuing developments proved, once again, the resilience of the region. We, now, have reasons to look ahead with optimism.

The prospect of permanent stability in Lebanon introduced by the Doha Agreement, the deal reached last summer to end hostilities with regard to Southern Israel and Gaza Strip as well as the proximity talks between Syria and Israel in Istanbul are all important steps which bode well for the future of the region.

Nevertheless, the challenges remain. The current situation in and around the border of Israel and the Gaza Strip is a source of concern for all of us. Also the settlement activities of Israel in West Bank and East Jerusalem as well as the continuing construction of the separation wall are definitely not contributing to the peace process and contrary to Israel's obligations under the Road Map.

As we enter a new period in the Middle East, it is imperative that neither party should take any step which might undermine the peace process and prejudice the final status negotiations. Israel's security concerns must be addressed and the Israelis must address the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip.

At the current stage, our focus should be on the peace process. We have to look into ways on how we can make the best use of the relative calm and the ongoing efforts in different tracks in the region. We should work on creating even a better ground for peace talks in every track and urge parties to exercise utmost restraint.

Meanwhile, we appeal to all the leaders of Palestine to join hands in the pursuit of peace.

The Turkish Government continues to contribute to the process of confidence building and increased interaction between Israelis and Palestinians through several joint projects as well as addressing the needs of the Palestinian people.

Mr. President,

We welcome the landmark developments in Lebanon in the implementation of Doha Agreement. We sincerely believe that the future has a much brighter era in store for Lebanon. The courage and resilience of the people of Lebanon will further promote and carry forward the recent positive developments. Turkey, as always, remains ready to contribute to the stability, security and prosperity of Lebanon.

We also note with appreciation the establishment of diplomatic relations between Lebanon and Syria which is a milestone that would serve not only these two countries but also the entire region.

Mr. President,

Turkey believes in a just and lasting peace in the Middle East.

Turkey will continue its efforts towards reaching peace in the region based on a two state settlement.

As we go through a crucial period in the Middle East, there is no alternative but to focus on the political process and carry forward with determination, while maintaining moderation in the face of challenges.

Thank you.