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SC: Situation in the Middle East

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Photo: UN Photo/Evan Schneider.

Statement by Ambassador Mona Juul on The situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question, 28 October 2019.

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President,

Please allow me to take a few moments to adress the situation in the region. Norway is deeply concerned about the situation in Northern Syria.

We note the recent agreement between Turkey and Russia, but we remain worried about the consequences for both the fight against ISIL as well as the humanitarian situation, which is already deteriorating. Protection and access remain critical for the humanitarian response in North Eastern Syria. 

Norway will not provide support to any resettlement of refugees in Northern Syrian that does not meet these criteria.

Whoever exercises control in Northeastern Syria will face expectations and close scrutiny by the international community.

This includes safeguarding of detention centres for ISIL prisoners. 

We lend our strong support to the work of UN Special Envoy Pedersen, and welcome the convening of the important first meeting of the Constitutional Committee.

President,

The increased tensions in the Gulf region remain a matter of great concern.

We urge all actors to refrain from actions and statements that may contribute to further escalation.

Norway is deeply concerned about the humanitarian crisis in Yemen.

We acknowledge recent pledges of humanitarian assistance, while we note that a substantial funding gap remains.

Norway is encouraged by reports of progress in the Jeddah talks.

We are encouraged by the recent decrease of violence and release of prisoners, and we support the efforts of UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths.

More women in political talks will be important.

Only an inclusive political solution can resolve the conflict and bring lasting peace and stability to Yemen and to the region. 

President,

The international donor group to Palestine, the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee, met at ministerial level in New York on September 26.

The meeting, which was hosted by the UN and chaired by the Norwegian Foreign Minister, emphasized the broad international support for a negotiated two-state solution as the basis for resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The AHLC members called for immediate steps to resume transfers to the Palestinian Authority of revenues collected by Israel.

In line with this, Norway welcomes the recent arrangement between the parties.

We encourage Israel and the PA to extend their dialogue to finding durable solutions to other outstanding economic issues.

Furthermore, the AHLC members urged donors to step up humanitarian support for Gaza.

Ending the blockade of Gaza, facilitating trade and opening up Area C in the West Bank for Palestinian use are preconditions for a sustainable Palestinian economy.

Norway is concerned by recent Israelis calls to annex large areas of the West Bank.

As determined by the Security Council, any future Israeli decision to change the status of the occupied West Bank, or to impose its laws, jurisdictions and administration in the area, will be without any international legal effect.

Actions such as settlement expansions, house demolitions, use of violence and unilateral use of force, including in East Jerusalem, are unacceptable.

Such actions undermine the two-state solution and the peace process, as well as the Palestinian economy, and threaten regional stability.

We call on the parties to comply with their obligations under international law.

Norway has a long-standing commitment to enable and improve conditions for peace and security in the Middle East.

Promoting conflict resolution and mediation in the conflicts in the region remains a key priority of Norwegian foreign policy. If elected to the Council for the term 2021-2022, we will be giving this issue the highest priority.

Thank you.