Ambassador Bukun Onemola

Ambassador/Deputy Permanent Representative

Nigeria Mission to the UN

New York, NY

14th April, 2010

As Delivered

I, too, would like at the outset to express our condolences to the representative of China for the earthquake that occurred this morning. Our hearts go out to the victims. We also wish to thank Mr. Lynn Pascoe, Under-Secretary General for Political Affairs, for his briefing.

We are having this debate once again in the backdrop of escalating tensions between the Israelis and Palestinians. Recent efforts to bring the two parties together in proximity talks were rendered futile because of provocative actions and pronouncements on both sides. It is a matter of regret that, instead of showing genuine commitment to the peace process and providing the requisite confidence-building measures to promote it, the Israelis and Palestinians have continued on a path that undermines peace between them. The situation in Gaza is steadily gathering momentum for a downward spiral into another cycle of widespread violence and destruction. We urge the two parties to sheathe their swords and embrace peace.

As was the case during our last debate, neither party to the conflict can escape blame for actions and pronouncements that are harmful to the peace process. The clashes in Khan Yunis, which resulted in deaths and reprisal strikes, as well as the new Israeli military order that gives the power to detain, imprison and deport Palestinians deemed to be infiltrators in the occupied territory, are illustrative of these inimical actions.

We reiterate our call on Israel and the Palestinians to exercise utmost restraint in their actions and utterances. The two parties should heed the well meaning appeals from different quarters, not least the Quartet, to resume negotiations without further delay. Arbitrary actions, such as the construction of new settlements in East Jerusalem, the launching of rockets and air strikes and the imposition of blockades, will not solve the problem. Sustained dialogue, no matter how tedious, will in the long run prove to be the most potent weapon for the resolution of intractable conflicts.

The relevance of a two-State solution needs no reiteration in these debates. There is no alternative to it. All parties and interlocutors should take bold measures to create the conditions conducive to the achievement of a comprehensive and lasting peace in the Middle East. Progress in that direction will depend on the resumption of direct negotiations. Demonstrable political will and commitment to the peace process would also be helpful. The international community should continue to support and encourage Israelis and Palestinians to stay the course of peace.

We hope that the next briefing and debate on this question will take place in a different atmosphere, and we look forward to our participation in it.