Safadi deplores Israel’s new settlement plans
By JT – Jan 11,2021 – JORDAN TIMES
Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi , Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, French Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian and German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas hold a press conference in Cairo on Monday (AFP photo)
AMMAN — Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi on Monday attended the Quartet ministerial meeting, which witnessed the participation of Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, French Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian and German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, according to a Foreign Ministry statement.
The Cairo-held meeting focused on pushing forward cooperation and coordination efforts towards the peace process in the region and creating a political aspect to launching “serious and effective” Palestinian-Israeli negotiations to achieve a fair, lasting and comprehensive peace, in accordance with the two-state solution.
The ministers, during their meeting, discussed their recent contacts with the Palestinian and Israeli foreign ministers, reviewing the points of view of each party.
Safadi, Le Drian and Maas, during the meeting, were acquainted with the letter sent by the Palestinian Foreign Minister to Shoukry, according to the statement.
The statement revealed that the four ministers welcomed the meeting, describing it as an opportunity to push forward the Middle East’s peace process, as well as to create a conducive environment for the resumption of dialogue between the Palestinian and Israeli sides.
The gathering also called on the two parties to strengthen mutual cooperation and coordination, on the basis of mutual obligations, notably amid the coronavirus pandemic. In this regard, the ministers welcomed the Palestinian Authority’s decision to resume cooperation based on Israel’s commitment to the previous bilateral agreements.
Recalling their joint statement from September 24, 2020, issued after their meeting in Amman, the ministers reiterated “full’ commitment towards just, comprehensive and lasting peace, on the basis of international law, relevant United Nations resolutions and agreed parameters, including the Arab Peace Initiative.
The settlement of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, on the basis of the two-state solution, is an indispensable requirement for a comprehensive peace in the region, they said, stressing commitment to a two-state solution that ensures the emergence of an independent and viable Palestinian state on the basis of June 4, 1967 lines, living side by side with a secure and recognised Israel.
The Jordanian, Egyptian, French and German foreign ministers also highlighted the role of the US in this arena, expressing readiness to involve in the efforts easing negotiations that lead to a just, comprehensive and lasting peace.
The ministers also urged the Palestinian and Israeli sides to stop any unilateral measures that undermines the just and lasting solution of the conflict, renewing calls on both parties to implement UN Security Council resolutions, and demanding immediate and complete halt to all settlement activities, including those in East Jerusalem.
They also agreed that Israel’s establishment of settlements and confiscation of Palestinian property constitute a violation under international law and a major obstacle to the vision of a two-state solution.
They also highlighted the need of compliance with the international humanitarian law in the territories occupied by Israel since 1967, including East Jerusalem.
The meeting also stressed the importance of upholding the legal and historic status quo of the holy sites in Jerusalem, highlighting the role of the Hashemite Custodianship in this arena.
The ministers also highlighted that peace agreements between the Arab states and Israel, including the recent ones, should contribute to resolving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, on the basis of a two-state solution to achieve a comprehensive and lasting peace.
They also urged all parties, including the Quartet and its potential partners, to exert collective efforts towards taking practical steps to launch and sponsor credible negotiations on all final status issues of the Middle East peace process.
They also welcomed the recent developments related to the efforts towards achieving Palestinian reconciliation and welcomed the Palestinian Authority’s readiness to hold the next elections. The ministers also pledged to support Egypt’s efforts towards ending the division between the Palestinians.
The gathering also expressed appreciation of UNRWA’s role in providing assistance for Palestinian refugees, calling on the international community to provide support for the refugee agency to bridge its deficit.
At the end of the meeting, the ministers agreed on sharing their common vision on moving towards peace.
Expressing thanks for Egypt, the ministers agreed on holding the next meeting in France.
In joint press remarks following the meeting, Safadi said that “as we are convening today, Israeli government has announced building about 800 new settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories, in violation of international law, adding a step that undermines all peace opportunities”.
Safadi also highlighted the need for a just and comprehensive peace to maintain regional security and stability.
The two-state solution is “the sole way” towards lasting and comprehensive peace, he said, calling for “clear stances” against settlements activities and violations against holy sites in Al Aqsa Mosque/Al Haram.
In response to a question, Safadi said: “Sovereignty over Jerusalem is Palestinian, custodianship over Islamic and Christian holy sites is Hashemite, while protecting Jerusalem and its holy shrines is a Palestinian-Jordanian-Egyptian-Arab- international responsibility”.
Safadi also said that work is in progress within the Stockholm group in partnership with Sweden, to hold a meeting at the end of next month, to discuss financial and political support to UNRWA with international partners.
“We met with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El Sisi who emphasised the centrality of the Palestinian cause and stressed that it’s a priority for Cairo,” he said.
Shoukry reiterated that his country’s stance on the Palestinian cause is firm, in accordance with the two-state solution.
Pointing out that Paris will host the next meeting, the French foreign minister said that the pace of these meetings shows the group’s determination to take the lead in this key issue, noting that the priority of this EU-Arab group is supporting the path to resume dialogue among the Palestinian and Israeli sides and major partners, including the US.
The German diplomat said that the group focuses on measures of confidence-rebuilding to pave the way to resume negotiations, stressing that the group will talk to both parties to conflict as well as partners in the EU, the UN and the next US administration.
Germany on Monday paid two-thirds of its voluntary contributions to UNRWA’s budget, which constitutes 13 million euros, he noted.