United Nations Security Council Quarterly Open debate on the Middle East

Statement by H.E. Mr. Ahmed Sareer, Permanent Represenative of the Republic of Maldives to the United Nations

United Nations, New York, 17 January 2017

Mr. President,

I would like to thank Swedish Presidency of the Security Council for convening this quarterly open debate on the Middle East, including the Palestinian question. We are starting the dialogue on this topic this year at an important juncture, following the adoption of resolution 2334, the first Security Council resolution on the Palestinian issue in almost a decade.

The Maldives welcomes this Resolution, which reaffirms the illegality of Israeli settlements in the occupied territory of Palestine, and calls upon states to distinguish in their relevant dealings, between the territory of the State of Israel and the territories occupied since 1967. We believe that this is a significant step forward in the Security Council, demonstrating the international political support in addressing the predicament of Palestinian people, which has stretched on for far too long. It is a clear message to the Israeli Government that their policies and laws aimed at perpetuating and further extending their illegal occupation in blatant violation of international law, will not be accepted by this Council and the rest of the world.

With deep concern, we take note of the punitive actions that the Israeli Government has taken against the Security Council Members who have voted in favor of this resolution, as well as the harsh political statements issued from the highest level, expressing the lack of intent to implement the resolution. This flagrant disregard for the very basic principles of international law sets a dangerous precedent, which the Israeli Government should be held accountable for.

We believe it is critical to build on the momentum generated by this Resolution, and take further concrete measures to bring an end to the Israeli occupation, and ascertain a peaceful and sustainable resolution to this conflict, which has continuously overshadowed peace and security in the region.

Mr. President,

The Maldives also welcomes Security Council resolutions 2328, 2332 and 2336, which address the escalating humanitarian crisis in Syria. Given the appalling number of innocent lives that have already been claimed by this conflict, we believe it is crucial to ensure that unobstructed humanitarian aid is continuously accessible to those in need in order to prevent further casualties. We also welcome the efforts of the Russian Federation and the Republic of Turkey aimed at initiating the political process to end the violence in Syria, and call upon all relevant Parties to enhance and expedite these efforts.

The crisis in Syria is indeed the one of the gravest tragedies of our time, and the Maldives along with other Member States remain committed to taking action to resolve this crisis, and rebuild this war torn country. We cannot falter in our duties as Member States, in times of dire need.

Mr. President,

All decisions of the Security Council should be followed by urgent action. The lack of progress in implementing the resolutions of the Council on issues relating to the Middle East must be addressed in a concrete manner to maintain the credibility of not only the Council, but the United Nations as a whole. We welcome the initiatives by Member States which help supplement the implementation of these resolutions, including the International Ministerial Conference on the Peace Process in the Middle East, which was held in Paris on Sunday.

Mr. President,

The Maldives would like to reiterate its call for a two state solution recognizing the sovereign and independent State of Palestine, based on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital. The achievement of sustainable peace in the Middle East can only be possible through political will, international cooperation and tangible actions. The resolution of these conflicts are necessary to resolve other threats to international peace and security, such as terrorism and violent extremism. Collectively, we need stronger resolve to secure a better and more peaceful future for these countries to maintain international peace and order.

Thank you.