Statement by  Bandula Jayasekara,
Deputy Permanent Representative
Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka to the United Nations
at the Security Council Open Debate
On ‘the Situation in the Middle East including
the Palestine Question” – 14th April, 2010

Mr. President,
At the outset, let me express our condolences to the Government and the people of China on the loss of lives and property due to the devastating earthquake today.

Mr. President,
Permit me to congratulate your delegation on the assumption of the Presidency of the Security Council.  We also wish to thank the Under Secretary General for Political Affairs for his briefing.

Mr. 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.  Our hope is that the day will soon come when Israel, Palestine and their other regional neighbours could co-exist in peace and harmony.

Mr. President,
We remain deeply concerned about the daily widespread suffering and hardships the Palestinian people continue to endure due to the economic blockade and the ensuing grave situation in the occupied Palestinian territory. 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.  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 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 believes that for peace to be viable and sustainable in the Palestinian territory, Israel must withdraw from all the occupied Palestinian territories back to the 1967 borders.  It must end the economic blockade.  The illegal expansion of settlements, the construction of the separation wall. Changing the demographic character of the Palestinian territory 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 civilians.  Allegations of illegal arms flow must be investigated. Both sides must do everything possible to ensure the safety and security of civilians. 

Mr. 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. 

Mr. President,
My delegation supports international efforts for the early resumption of negotiations and believes that the unity of the Palestinian people is essential to ensure proper conditions for the resumption of the dialogue by Israel and Palestine at an early stage. We also urge both sides to ensure a climate conducive for the resumption of negotiations and regret that the announcement of new settlement construction has resulted in a set back to the progress made.

Mr. 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).

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

I thank you Mr. President.

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