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Official speeches and statements - May 28, 2021

Published on May 28, 2021

1. United Nations - Middle East - Statement by Mr. Nicolas de Rivière, permanent representative of France to the United Nations, at the Security Council (New York - May 27, 2021)

[translation from French]

Mr. President,

I thank the Special Coordinator, the Commissioner-General and Dr. Khalidi for their briefings.

Just as the Security Council did last weekend, France welcomed the announcement of the cessation of hostilities on May 21, 2021 and calls for its full respect.

This cessation of hostilities is the fruit of collective diplomatic efforts. France played its full part by calling for an immediate cessation of hostilities, by coordinating closely with its Jordanian and Egyptian, American and European partners, and by remaining in contact with the Israeli authorities and the Palestinian Authority. In doing so, we contributed to the international pressure, which made it possible to put an end to the fighting in the night of May 20-21.

France also ensured that the Security Council contributed to such pressure, by taking the initiative on a draft resolution. We commend the fact that the Council was finally able to speak out following the truce.

We commend again the key role played by Egypt and the United States, as well as the contribution made by other countries in the region, in particular Jordan and Qatar.

The truce, which has held thus far, must now become permanent through sustainable ceasefire arrangements.

We will be very attentive to ensure that no further rockets be launched against Israeli territory - I recall our firm condemnation of the attacks carried out especially by Hamas.

The human toll is a one heavy for the civilian population after 11 days of fighting. The number of displaced persons is extremely high, and many homes and civilian infrastructures have been destroyed or damaged.

The truce must therefore make it possible to meet the most urgent humanitarian needs, particularly in Gaza. France calls for unhindered humanitarian access. It welcomes the initial steps taken in this direction with the opening of crossing points to humanitarian aid and personnel. France intends to pledge several million euros - in addition to its annual aid - to meet the most pressing needs. We call upon all member states to contribute as well.

In Gaza, beyond the emergency response, a broader reconstruction program will be required, notably for critical civilian infrastructure, as well as in the medical field, including to tackle COVID-19. We are ready to play our full part in these efforts, in coordination with the United Nations, and ensuring that the aid provided reaches only its intended beneficiaries.

Finally, the truce must be accompanied by an easing of tensions across the Palestinian Territories, including East Jerusalem, and in Israel. We remain very concerned by the threats of eviction of Palestinian families in East Jerusalem, which we call on the Israeli authorities not to conduct, and we recall our firm opposition to colonization in all its forms. We also call for full respect of the 1967 status quo on Holy sites. Beyond that, all acts of provocation, all calls for hatred and incitements to violence must cease.

These eleven days of grave violence remind us that we cannot shrug off the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. If we choose to resign ourselves to it or to forget it, it will remind us that it exists through new episodes of violence.

Without political perspective and without respect for international law, the same causes will produce the same effects. Cycles of violence will continue to occur one after the other and the civilian population will once again be the primary victims.

France reiterates its determined support for a two-state solution, living in peace and security, within secure and recognized borders based on the 1967 lines, with Jerusalem as its capital, within the framework of international law and the resolutions of this Council. This is the only way to meet the aspirations of the Israeli and Palestinian people and to ensure the security of all.

France is determined to play its full part in preserving this prospect, in coordination with all its international partners. The Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs, Jean-Yves Le Drian, will continue his mobilization in the framework of the Amman format, alongside his German, Egyptian and Jordanian counterparts. Together, we remain determined to work step by step to rebuild trust between the parties with a view to resuming negotiations.

Mr. President,

The Security Council has been mobilized throughout this crisis. It must now be mobilized to support efforts for the resumption of the political process.

Thank you.