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Press Statements following Middle East UNSC meeting

Press Statements following the Security Council Open debate on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question, 16 May 2021.

Press Statement by Norway, Tunisia and China, delivered by Permanent Representative of Norway to the UN, Mona Juul

I make this statement on behalf of Norway, Tunisia and China.

Today, on May 16, 2021, the Council met for a third meeting this week, this time in an open debate format. Secretary General Guterres and Special Coordinator Wennesland briefed the Council. Norway, Tunisia and China participated with their Foreign Ministers.

Norway, Tunisia and China expressed deep concern about the situation in Gaza and the rising number of civilian casualties, and called for an immediate end of hostilities, full respect for international law, including international humanitarian law and the protection of civilians, especially children.

We demanded immediate cessation of all acts of violence, provocation, incitement, destruction and eviction plans.

Furthermore, we expressed concern about the tensions and violence in East Jerusalem, especially in and around the holy sites, including at the Al Aqsa mosque, and urged the exercise of maximum restraint and for the respect of the historic status quo at the holy sites.

We urged both sides to work to urgently lower tensions and end the violence.

Lastly, we reiterated our support for a negotiated two-State solution in accordance with relevant UN resolutions and international law, and urged for the intensification and acceleration of diplomatic efforts and support towards this aim.

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Press Statement by Norway, delivered by Permanent Representative of Norway to the UN, Mona Juul

Now allow me to make four points in my national capacity.

The bombardment of Gaza will require additional humanitarian efforts. We call for rapid, safe and unimpeded access for humanitarian actors to bring in food, health services and other humanitarian relief, including essential goods like fuel and gas.

We continue to condemn the rocket attacks by Hamas and other groups towards the civilian population in Israel. While recognizing Israel’s right to self-defence, we urge Israel to exercise maximum restraint in their response.

Norway strongly urges both sides to put children out of harm’s way. Children are never a legitimate target, yet more than 55 children have been killed this week. And even more have been injured, displaced and further traumatized. All parties have a duty to protect children.

Turning to the role of the Security Council: Norway strongly believes that the Security Council should speak with one voice and send a clear message urging an immediate cessation of violence and re-confirming our support to the two-state solution. Norway will continue our dedicated efforts to pursue council action.