The situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question
Hon. Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey
Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional
Integration of the Republic of Ghana.
January 19, 2022, UN Security Council Chamber
New York City
DEBATE ON THE SITUATION IN THE MIDDLE EAST INCLUDING THE PALESTINIAN QUESTION
I am pleased to participate in this open debate on the situation in the Middle East and commend Norway for its leadership on this critical matter. I also thank the briefers for their briefing to the Council on the prevailing situation in the Middle East and welcome the participation of other distinguished speakers under Rules 37 and 39.
Finding a lasting solution to the situation in the Middle East is a responsibility we cannot shirk or ignore. This is not a challenge that would disappear one day without a collective commitment to dialogue between the parties and the support of the international community. We know that the consequences of inaction would be even more dire, down the road.
Despite the several important interventions by the international community and the parties, since the holding of the 1991 Madrid Conference, the objective of a peaceful and comprehensive settlement of the situation in the Middle East has continued to elude us. The unending suffering of the Israeli and Palestinian peoples, and the prospect of a peaceful and prosperous Middle East compel us to be steadfast in the pursuit of this decades-long objective.
The worsening security and humanitarian situation in the region, amid the crises of the global COVID 19 pandemic, is alarming and calls for the renewed attention of the international community.
This Council must urgently address the question of how to revitalize effective and coordinated peace talks based on lessons learned, building upon past initiatives and exploring new possibilities through which Israel and Palestine can both realize their aspirations for normality, opportunity for every Israeli and Palestinian; indeed, for statehood.
Ghana believes that a two-state solution with Israel and Palestine living peacefully side by side on the basis of pre-1967 borders remains a viable option for restoring lasting peace and stability in the region.
Ghana therefore appreciates Norway’s facilitation of the in-person ministerial meeting of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee (AHLC) in November last year. We thank the donor community and international development partners for their commitment to support a meaningful and comprehensive settlement. The concrete measures which have been identified to support Palestinian institutional building and address the Palestinian fiscal challenges as well as de-escalate tensions must be followed through with action if progress is to be made on the peace process.
Ghana also commends the recent efforts of the Secretary-General and the Envoys of the Middle East Quartet to address critical concerns over the fiscal conditions in Palestine and the tense conditions in the West Bank, Jerusalem and Gaza.
Advancing the peace process requires regional and international actors to deploy the tools of diplomacy to build and sustain momentum around the recent high-level engagements. It also requires both sides to the conflict to overcome past mistrust, to work to rebuild trust and goodwill and to engage their publics on a vision of peace that promises security and prosperity. None of this would be easy. The cost of not doing it would be harder.
Ghana condemns all acts of terrorism, violations of human rights and international humanitarian law by the parties. These actions exacerbate the humanitarian crises. While reminding the parties of their obligations under international law and the several resolutions of this Council, we urge them to refrain from unilateral action that obstruct and undermine efforts aimed at achieving a comprehensive and just peace to the decade-old conflict.
We thank member States for their financial contributions to UNWRA and urge increased support to reverse the critical funding deficit of the organization to enable it continue its vital mission of supporting those affected by the conflict. We call on the Secretary-General to facilitate a process that enables us to address the options for a more sustainable and predictable humanitarian funding for the Middle East.
Without the genuine commitment of the parties to the peace process, peaceful resolution of the conflict would continue to slip through our grasp. We therefore urge the parties to resume direct negotiations for a comprehensive and lasting peace, in the spirit of cooperation and in good faith.
Finally, I wish to express Ghana’s commitment to support and facilitate the path to lasting peace in the Middle East region and underscore the need for cooperation and unified action among all member states and in particular, this Council.
Thank you for your kind attention