Mr. Kio Amieyeofori 

Minister/Political Coordinator

Permanent Mission of Nigeria to the UN

New York, NY

26 July 2011

As Delivered

On behalf of the Nigerian delegation, I warmly welcome you to the Security Council, Mr. President. Let me also thank the Special Coordinator, Mr. Serry, for his comprehensive briefing.

 The Middle East peace process remains deadlocked, in spite of concerted efforts on the part of the international community to return the parties to direct negotiations. Mistrust and a lack of confidence building measures have combined to complicate the outlook. Amid the deadlock, both sides seem to be contemplating a series of mutually harmful unilateral actions. While one side is now threatening to annex settlement blocs and even cancel the Oslo Agreements, the other is seeking to achieve membership in a broad range of international organizations. Deeply frustrating as the continuing deadlock is, the parties must recognize that the parameters of the two-State solution and an end to the conflict must be negotiated.

 With the Middle East Quartet unable to present a common platform for the renewal of negotiations at its last meeting, the only way to avoid the impending political confrontation is for the parties to immediately re-enter into direct negotiations on all permanent status issues, including borders, Jerusalem, refugees and security. Bringing both sides to constructive dialogue will be easier to achieve if there is a common platform or agenda around which all interlocutors, including the Quartet, can converge. Israel’s implementation of its Road Map obligation to freeze all settlement activities, and Palestine’s commitment to the security of the State of Israel will undoubtedly facilitate the process. The international community, particularly the Security Council, must be fully involved in charting the way forward.

 Inter-Palestinian reconciliation is indispensable to achieving the peace required to drive the process of establishing an independent State and peace in the Middle East as a whole. It is important that the April reconciliation agreement be sustained and fully implemented. The formation of a consensus Government will go a long way towards helping to forge lasting peace and stability, as well as to supporting accelerated economic development.

 We welcome the improved and steady movement of goods and services through the crossings into Gaza. The delivery of humanitarian assistance to the people of Gaza through the channels established by the Greek authorities, in consultation with the United Nations, is highly commendable. We urge all flotilla initiatives to take similar steps to avoid the escalation of tensions in the region. The approval by Israel authorities of United Nations road and school projects is encouraging, and we hope it will help to improve the welfare of the Palestinian people. We continue to commend the role of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) in providing much-needed relief and assistance to Gazans, and we urge greater international financial and logistical support for UNRWA.

 On Lebanon, we reaffirm our commitment to that country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. We congratulate Prime Minister Mikati on the formation of a new Government, which should stay committed to the country’s international obligations, including resolution 1701 (2006), and to supporting and preserving the work of the Special Tribunal. We urge Israel to implement its proposal to formally withdraw its forces from the northern part of Al-Ghajar.

 The security and humanitarian situation in Syria remains a source of concern, with refugee movements creating serious consequences for neighbouring countries. We urge the parties in Syria to exercise maximum restraint and engage in meaningful dialogue towards a peaceful settlement of the crisis. The Government’s endorsement yesterday of a law that would allow the formation of political parties alongside the ruling party is a welcome development. It is incumbent on the Government to continue to implement the promised reforms and to grant access to aid agencies and the United Nations in order to provide much-needed assistance to those who require it.

 Nigeria remains hopeful that, in spite of the current stalemate in the peace process, a just, comprehensive and lasting settlement of the Middle East question is possible. The parties must continue on the path of dialogue; they must also make the painful compromises necessary for achieving enduring peace in the region.