Speech/statement | Date: 03/06/2016 | Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende's statement at the Middle East ministerial meeting in Paris 3 June.
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Chair, Ministers, Excellences, Ladies and Gentlemen.
Let me at the outset thank France for taking this initiative. It is both timely and important.
What is missing today is not a common vision for a durable peace, but sufficient political will and leadership. We need to recreate the spirit of Oslo.
We all agree that:
- The two-state solution is the only credible path towards long-term peace
- Resolving the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians remains vital for securing regional stability and prosperity
- It is in our strategic interest to prevent further instability in the Middle East
- The Palestinian people deserve a state, a real state.
- The current impasse does not benefit anyone. It just causes more instability and it undermines any prospects for peace
We have repeated too many times that the window of realizing the two-state solution is closing. This is no longer a rhetorical slogan – it is unfortunately becoming a political reality.
Ultimately, the parties must resolve the conflict, but they have not been able to stand up to their responsibility.
The parties must demonstrate a serious commitment to realizing a negotiated two-state solution. The settlement expansions must stop. Both leaders must curtail violence.
The nature of the outstanding final-status issues require a direct engagement between the parties, but this cannot exclude engagement by regional and international actors. Existing agreements and relevant UN resolutions should form the basis for developing the parameters for the two-state solution.
Let me share a few observations of our efforts in leading the donor-group for Palestine (AHLC).
First, the AHLC represents the only international forum where both parties engage directly and constructively with each other on a regular basis.
Second, our efforts to prepare institutions for statehood and make the Palestinian economy as sustainable as possible is an effective way to support the Palestinian people and to keep the two-state solution alive.
Third, since the state-building process started in 1993 in the aftermath of the first Oslo accord, we have achieved a lot. It is important to sustain this constructive process. Mechanisms and structures for economic cooperation between the parties are established, and they have proven to be effective. There is no need for new, duplicating structures.
Fourth, I am encouraged that both parties agreed in the last AHLC-meeting on 19 April to work with the donors over the coming two years to stabilize and to sustain the Palestinian economy by reducing the budget deficit and stimulating long-term economic growth.
To conclude, Norway will develop an AHLC strategy for the coming two years to address fiscal sustainability and long-term growth of the Palestinian economy.
In the next AHLC-meeting in New York in September, we will deliver a serious contribution to the follow-up of today meeting.
A sustained Palestinian economy is crucial to keep the two-state solution alive. In itself, it does not deliver a two-state solution – it cannot. Only a political resolution does.