Statement by the delegation  of Sri Lanka
at the Security Council Open Debate
On ‘the Situation in the Middle East including
the Palestine Question” – 21st July, 2010

Madam President,
Permit me at the outset to congratulate you, Ambassador Joy Ogwu, on your assumption of the Presidency of this Council.  We also wish to thank the Under Secretary General for Political Affairs, Lynn Pascoe for his briefing.  My delegation appreciates the opportunity given to us to once again to address the situation in the Middle East, particularly, the Palestinian question.

Madam President,
My delegation believes that a Resolution of the Palestinian issue is crucial for restoring peace in the entire Middle East with implications elsewhere. Sri Lanka has consistently supported a peaceful settlement to the Palestinian issue and called on all sides to fully implement the Resolutions adopted by this Council and the General Assembly regarding the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian people and the realization of the two State solution. 

Madam  President,
We remain deeply concerned about the widespread suffering and hardships the Palestinian people continue to endure due to the economic blockade and the ensuing grave situation in the occupied territories. While we note the relaxation of some restrictions by the Israeli Govt., we call for the removal of all restrictions. Further relaxations could enhance the confidence level of all concerned and facilitate efforts to bring peace to the region.  The Palestinian people have suffered for too long and continue to live under occupation.  The denial of their fundamental right to Statehood, recognized by the UN, due to the continued Israeli occupation has seriously affected progress in socio-economic indicators of the population in Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.   In this context, my delegation reiterates its long held position that for peace to be viable and sustainable in the Palestinian territory, occupying forces must withdraw to the 1967 borders.  It must end the economic blockade.  We support a complete stop to the illegal expansion of settlements. Changing the demographic character of the Palestinian territory including in East Jerusalem would only increase tensions and animosities in the entire Middle East region. 

The Palestinian Authority needs to continue the implementation of its security plan and make every effort at its disposal to improve law and order and to ensure its territory is not used for illegal attacks on Israeli.  Allegations of illegal arms flow must be investigated. Both sides must do everything possible to ensure the safety and security of civilians. 

Madam President,
Sri Lanka, reiterates its support for the Palestinian National Authority under the leadership of President Mahmoud Abbas.  We stress the need to preserve and protect the national and democratic institutions which are vital for a future independent Palestinian State.  We, therefore, urge the Palestinian groups to act speedily to reconcile and reunite within the framework of the Palestinian National Authority.  Unity among the Palestinian peoples is their strength. 

Madam President,
My delegation supports international efforts for the early resumption of direct negotiations and believes that the unity of the Palestinian people is essential in this endeavour. 

Madam President,
We also remain concerned with the situation in the occupied Syrian Golan including the plight of Syrian detainees and call for the implementation of all the relevant Security Council resolutions, particularly, UNSC Resolution 497 (1981).

Madam President,
Sri Lanka reiterates its support for a lasting peace in the Middle East including an early  settlement of the Palestinian issue. 

I thank you Madam President.

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