Statement by Mr. Kerim Uras, Deputy Permanent Representative, Charge D'affaires A.I. of the Permanent Mission of Turkey to the UN, at the Special Meeting of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalineable Rights of the Palestinian People

Kerim Uras 07.06.2007
Mr. Chairman,
Distinguished Colleagues,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

The grim realities in the Middle East starkly remind the international community of the centrality of the question of Palestine for regional as well as global peace and security. As events continue to unfold, it has become more evident that the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people must be fully and timely addressed. In fact, only through a just and comprehensive settlement of this question, would we be able to pave the way for sustainable peace, security, stability and development for all peoples in the region.

Unfortunately, the Palestinians continue to face a dire situation. They have endured constant turmoil and conflict for decades. Their lives have been devastated with insecurity and unjustly their hopes have faded. Regretfully, the chain of events on the ground has dimmed the prospects for peace and security in the near future. However, we could not allow pessimism and inertia to deter the people of Palestine.

Turkey is of the view that the international community is duty bound, on moral and humanitarian grounds, to help provide a just solution for the Palestinian people. Our brothers and sisters in Palestine have a rightful cause, and their aspirations for Palestinian statehood are legitimate. In this context, the vision of two States, living next to each other, in peace and cooperation, as stipulated by the Quartet Road Map, as well as the relevant agreements and UN resolutions offer the soundest way out of the present impasse.

There is no doubt that in this endeavor the Palestinians and Israel must be assisted through bilateral, regional and international mechanisms in order to generate a change in their respective thinking and policies towards one another. Indeed, a constructive approach to initiate final status negotiations will alter the current psychology on the ground and eventually bring about the desired change. We must renew our efforts toward this aim and re-invigorate the peace process in order to achieve the desired results. In this context, Turkey believes that the Arab Peace Initiative, consolidated at the Arab League Summit held this year, represents a fresh opportunity and a suitable framework to revitalize meaningful negotiations. The initiative merits the support of the international community and the planned activities envisioned through this endeavor must be followed-up.

Mr. Chairman,

The parameters for moving towards the final status negotiations are well-known. We believe it is incumbent upon the international community to exert every effort to facilitate the implementation of confidence building measures, to alleviate tensions, and to re-establish a suitable environment for negotiations to commence in earnest.

First and foremost, the security situation on the ground, as well as the miserable living conditions in Palestine should be improved. As a first step, it is of fundamental importance that restrictions on the movement and access of Palestinians are eased. The renewal of the ceasefire in the Gaza Strip is of urgency, and it should be extended into the West Bank. Israel must halt its settlement activities. Taxes and customs revenues of the Palestinian Authority withheld by Israel must be duly transferred. The human rights of Palestinians and Palestinian prisoners must be fully respected.

In the meantime, it is also critical to preserve understanding and unity among the Palestinian factions, as stipulated in the Mecca Agreement. The establishment of the National Unity Government in Palestine must be welcomed, and it must be supported in its efforts to establish public order within the Palestinian society. The new Palestinian Government, in return, should try to create the conditions necessary to provide its own people the tangible benefits of political reconciliation.

It is also crucial for the Palestinian Government to respond to these developments through a political platform that embraces the Quartet principles. Efforts to allow the release of the kidnapped Israeli soldier should be intensified. At the same time, we must also reiterate our strong stance against violence, targeted killings and all acts of terror, no matter from where it emanates.

Mr. Chairman,

In light of its close ties with the brotherly people of Palestine, Turkey remains engaged in the peace process to ensure the successful culmination of the Palestinian cause. As Turkey enjoys the confidence of both Palestinians and Israelis, it is uniquely situated to complement and to facilitate efforts for a just, final and comprehensive settlement of the Palestinian question. Turkey will continue its assistance to the Palestinian people in every capacity possible, with the hope that long-desired peace, security, prosperity and well-being of all peoples in the region could be achieved.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.