UN envoy says time running out for two-state solution
The outgoing UN envoy for the Middle East peace process has said time is running out for a two-state solution, in an expression of frustration at stalled talks as he prepared to leave his job.
In his last press briefing before his mandate expired, Robert Serrry said: "As it seems that none of the Israeli and Palestinian parties is willing to resume the talks, the international community should present a framework valid for negotiations. May be this is the only way to preserve the goal of a two-state solution.
However, he warned that time was running out: "Perhaps the two-state solution has expired or is about to expire."
Serry insisted that a "valid framework" must be without conditions and lead to a clear outcome from the start.
He stressed that any agreement must take into account "the Israeli security fears".
He said the Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu's recent statements about his non-acceptance of a Palestinian state "raise serious doubts about Israel's commitment to the two-state solution".
He also expressed concern over the recent decision by the Palestine Liberation Organisation to stop all forms of security coordination with the Israelis, describing it as the last nail "in the coffin of the Oslo accord".
He called on the Israeli government to release Palestinian tax revenues, which amount now to more $400m dollars, warning that withholding them would deepen the crisis between the two sides.
|Minimum conditions for trust cannot be restored without taking credible steps to freeze the settlement activity.
Robert Serry, UN envoy
Serry said Israel must stop building settlements in the occupied West Bank. "The minimum conditions for trust cannot be restored without taking credible steps to freeze the settlement activity by the new Israeli government."
He stressed the importance of giving ultimate priority to the reconstruction of Gaza. "The reconstruction of Gaza is the first priority, but this does not mean it is the only priority," he said.
He said stability in Gaza was tied to four basic steps: A ceasefire with the help of the [Palestinian] national consensus government (NCG); real Palestinian reconciliation; the opening of border crossings; support for the NCG politically and materially.
This is an edited translation of the original Arabic.