On 12 and 13 May 2014 Ambassador Zahir Tanin, Permanent Representative of Afghanistan to the United Nations and Vice-Chair of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People (CEIRPP), attended the United Nations International Meeting on the Question of Jerusalem in Ankara, Turkey. The meeting focused on strengthening international support for a just and lasting solution of the question of Jerusalem.
The meeting took place at the Sheraton Anakra Hotel. It was organized by the United Nations CEIRPP, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and the Government of Turkey. The organizers timed the meeting to coincide with current international efforts to achieve a lasting settlement on the question of Palestine, and the meeting emphasized the need for the establishment of an independent and sovereign State of Palestine within the 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital.
The opening session of the meeting was attended by Ahmet Davutoğlu, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Turkey; Iyad bin Amin Madani, Secretary-General of the OIC; Permanent Representatives to the United Nations including Abdou Salam Diallo Permanent Representative of Senegal to the United Nations and Chairman of the CEIRPP; and Ministers of the State of Palestine including Mahmoud Al-Habbash, Minister for Waqf and Religious Affairs and Adnan Al-Husseini, Minister for Jerusalem Affairs.
The meeting consisted of an opening, three plenaries entitled “The status of Jerusalem in international law,” “The current situation in Jerusalem,” “The current situation in Jerusalem,” and a closing. Ambassador Zahir Tanin, in his capacity as Vice-Chair of CEIRPP, chaired the 2nd plenary of the conference.
Ahmet Davutoğlu, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Turkey, delivered opening remarks at the first session. Jerusalem is not just a political issue or an area of conflict, he said, but an area of peace, representing the humanitarian conscience as a whole. There is “no need to become politicians, diplomats or experts on the issue, but to become humans, he told participants.
The Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon, in a message read out by Mr. Robert Serry, United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, sent his greetings to all participants. He urged parties to “realize that not making a choice in favour of peace and co-existence within the two-State framework is the most detrimental choice of all. Failing to continue meaningful negotiations towards the two-State solution will lead further down the path of a one-state reality on the ground” he said.
At the meeting’s close, Deputy Prime Minister Emrullah İşler of Turkey expressed his appreciation to the United Nations and the OIC for organizing the Meeting. Jerusalem is special, he said, because it is a “capital of all mankind… [and]does not belong to one people or one religion.” Riyad Mansour, Permanent Observer for the State of Palestine to the United Nations, also took the floor. He expressed the Palestinian people and its leadership’s appreciation and gratitude to the Governments, organizations and individuals who made the Meeting a success, including the experts who had made presentations on Jerusalem. “The international community and all our friends must step up to the plate” and end the occupation, including of East Jerusalem, he said.