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‘UN committed to resolve Israeli-Palestinian conflict’

United Nations, Feb 5 (IANS) UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that the world body is committed to its established position of a two-state solution with regard to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“The United Nations remains committed to supporting Palestinians and Israelis to resolve the conflict on the basis of United Nations resolutions, international law and bilateral agreements and realizing the vision of two states — Israel and Palestine — living side by side in peace and security within recognized borders, on the basis of the pre-1967 lines,” Guterres told a meeting of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People on Tuesday, Xinhua news agency reported.

The position of the United Nations on the two-state solution has been defined throughout the years by relevant Security Council and General Assembly resolutions by which the UN Secretariat is bound, he said.

Resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict remains key to sustainable peace in the Middle East as its persistence reverberates far beyond Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory, and continues to further radicalization across the region, said Guterres.

“That is why we have been repeatedly raising alerts about actions that would erode the possibility of a viable and contiguous Palestinian state based on the two-state solution and that are contrary to international law and UN resolutions.”

Those actions include the expansion and acceleration of illegal settlement activities in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, as well as ongoing demolitions and seizures of Palestinian-owned property and evictions.

Jerusalem remains a final status issue. The city’s future can only be resolved on the basis of international law and through negotiations between the parties, he said.

Guterres called for attention to the human suffering that persists throughout the occupied Palestinian territory, including the plight of the 2 million Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip.

The restrictions on the movement of goods and people to and from Gaza must be eased, with the goal of ultimately lifting them.

Gaza, which is under the control of Hamas, ultimately requires political solutions, said Guterres, calling on Palestinian leaders to engage constructively with Egypt and others to advance intra-Palestinian reconciliation.

The holding of long-overdue general elections in the state of Palestine, including East Jerusalem, will be a crucial step toward giving renewed legitimacy to national institutions and reuniting the Palestinian people under a single, legitimate and democratic Palestinian national government, he said.

Guterres also asked member states to ensure reliable funding for the UN agency for Palestine refugees.

The UN chief presided over this year’s first meeting of the committee, which was established by the UN General Assembly in 1975. Cheikh Niang, the permanent representative of Senegal to the United Nations, was elected chair of the committee.

–IANS

rt/

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