Friday, November 28, 2014

Closing statement of Ambassador Tanin as Chair of UN African Meeting on Palestine

Statement by

H.E. Zahir Tanin

Head of the Delegation of the

Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights

of the Palestinian People

Excellencies,

Ladies and gentlemen,

As the United Nations African Meeting on the Question of Palestine is drawing to a close, allow me, on behalf of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, to express our sincere appreciation to all the participants. Our special thanks go to the distinguished panelists for sharing with us their valuable insights and expertise. Their presentations reminded us that despite the efforts of major international stakeholders and the declared intentions of the parties, the peace process has not yet moved forward. At the same time, facts continue to be created by the occupying Power on the ground threatening to render the two-State solution unattainable. Of particular concern, as repeatedly stated at this Meeting, is the situation in East Jerusalem.

The Committee appreciated very much the participation of Palestinian and Israeli experts, parliamentarians, politicians and representatives of civil society pointing out that the majorities in both societies support the two-State solution, including a just and viable solution for Jerusalem. The other participants in the Meeting, including the speakers from Africa and other international experts confirmed that the unresolved Israeli-Palestinian conflict remained a matter of utmost concern not only for Governments and politicians, but for broad sections of the population on all continents. The question of Jerusalem, in particular, is prone to spark emotions among millions of people, no Government can neglect, because of the city’s status as a spiritual center of the three religions.

We know that there are still large obstacles lying ahead in the peace process. We clearly know what those hurdles are. We know that crucial provisions of international law and United Nations resolutions are not being upheld. We are all actually aware of what needs to be done to bring peace, as articulately described in the concluding document just presented. Some of the issues we have discussed during the past two days are extremely sensitive, politically and emotionally, but none of them can be neglected and excluded from the permanent status negotiations if a lasting peace is to be achieved.

The main message sent out by this Meeting should be one of encouragement. Encouragement to our Palestinian and Israeli friends, to the politicians, parliamentarians and decision-makers to continue on the path to peace, to address, as matter of priority, the concerns of their own constituencies, in order to prepare the ground for the acceptance of the bold decisions that need to be taken and implemented, if peace shall ultimately be achieved between the two peoples. Internal divisions will have to be overcome, extremists isolated, and voices of reason and reconciliation strengthened.

The message of our Meeting should also encourage the international community to continue its efforts, at the political, economic and humanitarian levels, in support of the peace process. Speakers called upon the Members of the Middle East Quartet, in particular the United States, to stay engaged in order to achieve a breakthrough in the negotiations. Being in Morocco, the importance of the Arab Peace Initiative was emphasized, and Arab States encouraged to pursue it vigorously for the benefit of all peoples in the region. And the international community is called upon to continue its direct assistance to the Palestinian people, to alleviate the plight of the Palestinians in Gaza suffering from the three-year long Israeli blockade and to support the state-building efforts of the Palestinian Authority.

Our Committee was created some 35 years ago by the General Assembly to remind the international community of its legal and moral responsibilities to restore the long-lost justice. The Committee reiterates that the root cause of the conflict is the occupation by Israel of the Palestinian Territory, which has lasted for more than four decades. Palestinians have suffered for far too long. Years of occupation have also affected the lives of Israelis. This unacceptable situation must be urgently redressed to allow both Israelis and Palestinians to live in peace and security.

Excellencies,

Ladies and gentlemen,

On behalf of the Committee and all participants in this Meeting, allow me to reiterate our sincere appreciation to the Government of Morocco for allowing us to gather in such a hospitable place to have these important deliberations. We enjoyed very much the cooperation and services received from the staff of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation. We very much look forward to continuing this excellent cooperation with the Moroccan Government.

Before I conclude, I would like to express the Committee’s sincere appreciation to the Division for Palestinian Rights of the United Nations Secretariat, the conference services team from the United Nations Office at Vienna and Geneva, interpreters, press officers, technicians, the staff of the Tour Hassan Hotel and all others for their contribution to the successful holding of the Meeting.

I would also like to inform you that the documentation of this Meeting will be posted on the web site maintained by the Division for Palestinian Rights, and a report of this Meeting will be published, in due course, as a publication of the Division.

I wish you all a safe journey back home.

I now declare closed the United Nations African Meeting on the Question of Palestine.

Ambassador Tanin Opens UN African Meeting on the Question of Palestine in Rabat

H.E. Ambassador Zahir Tanin, Permanent Representative of Afghanistan to the United Nations, Vice President of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People and Head of the Delegation of the Committee, today chaired the first day of the UN African Meeting on the Question of Palestine in Rabat, Morocco. Ambassador Tanin will chair the two-day meeting, which is convened by the Committee under the theme of “Strengthening the support by African States for a just and lasting solution of the question of Jerusalem.”

The meeting was opened by on Mr. Taib Fassi-Fihri, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation for Morocco, who welcomed the participants and expressed pride at his country’s being the host for this year’s African Meeting on Palestine. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also had a statement, which was delivered on his behalf by Bader Al-Dafa, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for West Africa. In it the Secretary-General stressed the importance of a negotiated peace in which the question of the permanent status of Jerusalem would have to be resolved.

In his opening statement, Ambassador Tanin called for a resolution of the status of Jerusalem that would allow East Jerusalem to be the capital of a future Palestinian state. He asserted that unilateral attempts to annex or otherwise influence the status of Jerusalem would prevent the finding of a sustainable negotiated solution. He said that any solution would have to include provisions ensuring the freedom of religion of inhabitants, and unhindered access to holy sites. He condemned any action taken in contravention of the Geneva Conventions and called for the parties to the convention to take action in those instances.

The opening session also included a keynote presentation by Mr. Ahmed Qurai, a representative of the Palestinian Liberation Organization. Following that, the first plenary which included presentations by experts and a further discussion on the issue of the status of Jerusalem. The Meeting will continue on Friday with two additional plenary sessions before closing at the end of the day on Friday.

Before the opening of the Meeting, Ambassador Tanin and the rest of the Delegation called on Mr. Fassi-Fihri to express their gratitude to Morocco for hosting the Meeting and for its long-time support of the Palestinian people.

Mr. Fassi Fihri, Ambassador Tanin and Mr. Ahmed Qurai later held a press conference that stressed the need for a fair and just resolution to the question of Jerusalem in any sustainable negotiated peace in the Middle East.

For the full report of the first day, click here.

Security Council arrives in Afghanistan to assess progress, show support

Members of the Security Council arrived today in Kabul to review progress made by the Afghan Government with assistance from the international community, and to demonstrate their continued support for the country’s efforts to ensure a sustainable peace.

The visit by the 15-member body is led by Ambassador Ertugrul Apakan of Turkey, and it comes ahead of the conference to be held in the capital on 20 July and co-chaired by the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA).  Ambassador Zahir Tanin Permanent Representative of  Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to the United Nations  is accompanying the Security Council delegates to Kabul.

Next month’s gathering is a follow-up to the London Conference held in January, during which the Government and its international partners jointly endorsed a strategy of transition to greater Afghan responsibility for the affairs of the country.

The visit is also taking place just weeks after the holding of the Consultative Peace Jirga – which brought together 1,600 delegates from across the country to discuss the way forward in the peace process – and as the country prepares for the parliamentary elections scheduled for 18 September.

While in Afghanistan, the Council members will meet with President Hamid Karzai, senior members of the Government and other Afghan authorities and institutions, as well as with members of civil society.

They will also meet members of the international community and with the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, in his latest report to the Council, stated that the UN is committed to a continued long-term presence in Afghanistan, noting that this is a “critical” year in the country’s transition.

Source of the News: UN News Centre