SC: Open Debate Middle East

Statement on behalf of Norway by chargés d'affaires by Minister Counsellor Halvor Sætre in Open Debate on The Situation in the Middle East including the Palestinian question, 24 July 2018

| Security Council

President, Norway is deeply concerned about recent developments in the Middle East, in particular in Syria, Yemen and Gaza. As a first step, it is crucial to ease tensions and avoid further escalation of violence in the region. Norway supports the UN Special Envoys de Mistura, Griffiths and Salamé and Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Mladenov in their efforts to overcome political deadlocks and to include all parties in credible political processes.

In Syria, victories on the battlefield cannot substitute for a political solution. Norway urges all the parties involved to engage in good faith in the formation and subsequent work of the constitutional committee.

Meanwhile, we welcome the emerging consensus in support of restoring stability in the Golan Heights on the basis of UNSCR 338 and the 1974 disengagement agreement.

Norway remains deeply concerned about the situation in Yemen. After more than three years of conflict, Yemen is experiencing the worst humanitarian crisis in the world. Norway’s humanitarian support totals approximately USD 34 million, including our contribution through CERF. It is imperative that the UN receives full support from all stakeholders.

President, Our long-standing engagement in the efforts to resolve the conflict between Israel and Palestine is based on our firm support for a negotiated two-state solution. Durable peace will not be possible before all the final status issues are resolved. Economic development and institution building are important steps, but can never substitute for a political solution. Therefore, Norway reiterates its call for the resumption of a meaningful political process.

Together with the UN, the EU and Egypt, Norway has, as the chair of the international donor group for Palestine (AHLC), intensified efforts to address the precarious humanitarian situation in Gaza. Key priorities are increased water and energy distribution and improved access, job creation, and movement of people and goods in and out of Gaza.

Our goal is to assist the two million people living in Gaza, and to enable the Palestinian Authority to reinstate its full authority. The political division between Gaza and the West Bank must end. Gaza is an integral part of Palestine and of a future Palestinian state. We commend the Egyptian mediation efforts for addressing all outstanding files, including access, movement and security.

To make further progress, all Palestinian factions must end provocative and violent activities. The closure regime must be eased, and the dual use list must be revised. Donors must remain committed to alleviating the situation on the ground and to providing continued assistance to the Palestinian people.

Norway hosted an informal meeting between the PA, the UN, the EU and the World Bank in Oslo on 18 July. This was followed by a meeting for all donors in Ramallah on 23 July where the PA and those present at the Oslo meeting presented current plans and donor activities. Progress in Gaza is our priority leading up to the scheduled AHLC ministerial meeting on 27 September in New York.


President, The nuclear agreement with Iran, which was endorsed by a unanimous Security Council, has helped to promote regional stability and has been effective in achieving its objective – to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons. We therefore regret President Trump’s decision to withdraw the US from the JCPOA and to re-impose US nuclear sanctions. We strongly urge Iran and the remaining signatories to uphold the deal and continue fulfilling their obligations. Norway supports the EU’s active engagement in the efforts to ensure continued implementation.

Thank you.