The United Nations Security Council high-level Arria-formula meeting on Media Freedom in Belarus

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Statement by Ambassador Sven Jürgenson at UN Security Council VTC Briefing on the Situation in the Middle East

I would like to thank you, Special Coordinator Mladenov for your briefing. I would also like to express my appreciation for your efforts and dedication during your term in office and I wish you all the success in your new and challenging job.

We reiterate our call to the Israelis and the Palestinians to take steps towards solving the conflict and to re-engage in meaningful negotiations on all final status issues. We urge both sides to engage with the members of the Middle East Quartet, and other regional players in this regard.

We believe that the normalization of relations between Israel and certain Arab states are significant steps and we hope that these developments will give impetus also to revive the Middle East Peace Process with the aim to achieve a two-state solution.

The decision by the Palestinian Authority to resume civilian and security coordination with Israel is most welcome, and will hopefully also improve prospects for resuming peace negotiations.

Regarding the situation on the ground, we call on all parties to refrain from any unilateral steps that undermine the viability of the two-state solution. We call on Israel to halt the continued settlement expansion and demolitions in the occupied Palestinian Territories, including in East Jerusalem and in sensitive areas such as Har Homa, Givat Hamatos and E1. We also call upon all States to distinguish between the territory of the State of Israel and the territories occupied since 1967.

We repeat our call for preventing all acts of violence against civilians, acts of terror, incitement and acts of provocation. We condemn the continued firing of rockets from Gaza towards Israel or any other form of violence targeting civilian population.

We encourage the Palestinian factions to commit to the intra-Palestinian reconciliation process and to reach an agreement on holding presidential and legislative elections.

We also share the concern mentioned in the Secretary General’s report about the continued arrest of human rights defenders and peace activists by all parties. We remind them of their obligation to respect freedom of expression and assembly.

Finally, I would also like to reiterate the important role of UNRWA for the stability of the region and also for their efforts to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Palestinian refugees. Estonia continues to support the work of UNRWA financially and urges all other countries to do the same.