Speech/statement | Date: 31/01/2018
By Former Minister of Foreign Affairs Ine Eriksen Søreide (Brussels, 31 January)
Minister of Foreign Affairs Ine Eriksen Søreide opened the extraordinary meeting in the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee (AHLC) for Palestine in Brussels 31 January. She started the meeting with the following statement.
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Excellences, Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a great pleasure to welcome you to this extraordinary ministerial meeting of the AHLC in Brussels.
The meeting was convened at short notice. I am encouraged by the high level of participation.
Let me first thank my colleague and co-sponsor of the AHLC, High Representative Federica Mogherini, for kindly hosting us in Brussels.
Let me also extend a warm welcome to Prime Minister Hamdallah and Minister Hanegbi, Foreign Minister Malki, and the United States, our second co-sponsor.
Dear friends and colleagues,
Together with the EU, we have called for an extraordinary session of the AHLC for two reasons:
There is a need for the international community to recommit to a common strategy of building the institutions and the infrastructure required for a Palestinian State.
The international community should commit to a comprehensive plan in support of the resumption of PA control in Gaza.
The mandate of the AHLC is"to mobilize international and technical support behind the negotiations aimed at achieving a two-state solution".
The operational components of this strategy have been to:
Build and strengthen Palestinian institutions to prepare them for statehood, this incudes building internal security capacity.To strengthen the ability for service delivery and to develop a sustainable economy.To build an open, pluralistic and democratic Palestinian state based on the rule of law.
This state-building approach has been possible, despite lack of progress in addressing outstanding political issues.
Due to the spirit of pragmatic cooperation between the parties, and the professional work by the World Bank, the IMF, the UN and the Office of the Quartet, Palestine is probably among the best-documented state-building exercises ever.
Despite of the fact that Palestine and President Abbas have achieved the international endorsement of "ready for Statehood", the only way to a sovereign and democratic Palestinian state living side by side with Israel in peace and security is through a negotiated two-state solution.
International support to Palestinian state building is necessary, but not sufficient to deliver a sustainable state.
Dear colleagues and friends,
The US has announced their intentions to table a proposal aimed at restarting negotiations between Israel and PLO.
Norway has been a strong supporter of US efforts through many years.
We expect an American initiative to be constructive, balanced and based on the final status parameters of the Oslo accords.
To achieve significant and lasting improvements on the ground, negotiations must be concluded on the outstanding issues including Jerusalem, refugees, settlements, security arrangements, border, relations and cooperation with neighbours.
Oslo was 25 years ago.
In a new round of negotiations we may have to realize that not everything will turn out to be exactly as before.
Gaza is an integral part of Palestinian territory.
The political divide between Gaza and the West Bank must end.
I applaud the Egyptian efforts to enable a process to return PA control to Gaza.
I also encourage the parties involved to do their utmost to achieve lasting solutions on re-integration.
This is not the first time we mobilise international support to Gaza. Major pledging took place last time at the Cairo Conference in October 2014.
Three and a half years later, the following issues remains unsolved:
First, the PA does not have full control in Gaza, and the political system has yet to become effectively operational. This is the responsibility of the Palestinian parties
Second, the 2 million people of Gaza lack access to safe water supply, electricity, and proper health and educational services. Nor do they have the ability to move in and out of the strip.
Third, it is unacceptable to have de facto military structures in Gaza outside PA control. The security of the people in Gaza and of the neighbouring Israeli towns are in jeopardy.
The people of Gaza should not carry the burden for the inability to find solutions, be it political, economic, and administrative or security.
Over the next few weeks, we must see urgent action and contribution from everyone around this table.
I am worried for the consequences inadequate funding for Palestine refugees through UNRWA will have.
This can potentially become a serious security threat in Gaza, the West Bank, Lebanon, Syria and Jordan as well as in Israel.
We should not allow radical groups to become operational in the Palestinian refugee-camps because of the acute financial crisis of UNRWA.
The re-integration of Gaza under one authority requires international support to the PA to continue at a higher level than previous years.
Friends and Colleagues,
To make progress, we need a realistic proposal to resume negotiations on the unresolved final status issues.
The negotiations will be both substantial and challenging, and we need engagement and willingness from both parties.
The donors must step up to the challenge and provide the necessary assistance.
Again, let me extend my sincere gratitude to all of you for the positive response to our call for convening an early AHLC-meeting, and for participating on a high level.
Let us use these hours to lay the foundation for constructive work in the weeks leading up to when we meet again in March.