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SC: The situation in the Middle East

Statement at the Open Debate on The situation in the Middel East, including the Palestinian question, by Ambassador and Permanent Representative Tore Hattrem, 18 october 2017.

| Security Council

Let me at the outset thank France for assuming the presidency of the Council this month.

President,

Norway is concerned about the recent military escalation in Northern Iraq. We urge all parties to resolve the conflict by peaceful means. Further escalation will only exacerbate the difficult humanitarian situation for millions of Iraqi civilians.

It is now vital that we remain united in our efforts to combat ISIL. ISIL has lost most of its territory in both Iraq and Syria, in great part due to the efforts of the anti-ISIL-coalition and its partners.

In Syria, the latest development in Raqqa is promising. At the same time, humanitarian access continues to be difficult, despite the establishment of de-escalation zones.

We therefore call on the Council to ensure that humanitarian actors have access to all areas throughout Syria where assistance is needed. We also call on the Council to help secure a viable political resolution of the conflict, as only this can bring a sustained reduction in violence and prevent new wars in the future.

President, 

Durable peace, security and prosperity for both Israelis and Palestinians can only be achieved through a negotiated two-state solution. Norway welcomes the ongoing US efforts to restart talks, and stands ready to support a political process. The situation is fragile because the political process has been at a standstill for a long time.

The international donor group for Palestine, the AHLC, met in New York on 18 September to take stock of the Palestinian state-building process, and to provide support to a negotiated two-state solution.

The AHLC discussed ways of improving the Palestinian economy and it addressed the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Gaza. Our strategic priorities as the Chair of the AHLC remain threefold: fiscal sustainability of the PA’s budget, sustained economic development with a focus on energy and water, and recovery of Gaza.

Norway welcomes the agreement signed by Fatah and Hamas in Cairo on 12 October. This is an important step towards a full return of the Palestinian Authority to Gaza. We commend the efforts of Egypt, and urge all parties to seize this opportunity. Efforts to improve the humanitarian situation for the people of Gaza is vital.

President,

We are deeply concerned of the deteriorating situation in Yemen. All parties must respect universal human rights and international humanitarian law, especially as regards the rights and needs of children.
Thank you.