Statement by Ambassador Inigo Lambertini, Deputy Permanent Representative of Italy to the United Nations, at the Security Council Open Debate on “The situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question” —
at the outset, I wish to align myself in full to the statement that the representative of the European Union will deliver further on and I wish to thank the ASG Jenča for his complete briefing.
After years of internal divisions that have taken a toll on the Palestinian unity, the most recent talks between the Palestinian parties seem to mark an important step towards restoring the whole Palestine under a single, democratic and legitimate authority.
Italy looked with interest at the meetings that took place in Cairo last week. We encourage both Palestinian parties to work together in good faith in order to achieve the long needed reconciliation. At the same time, any agreement will need to respect Israel’s right to exist and its legitimate security concerns.
I would like to commend Egypt for its mediation efforts, since all steps towards the Palestinian reconciliation are essential to pave the way to the resumption of the Middle East peace process.
It is now high time that the living conditions of the inhabitants of the Gaza Strip receive the long overdue attention: we call on the Palestinian Authority to ease the economic measures applied to Gaza as the discussions between the Palestinian factions proceed.
Consistently with our established position on the Middle East peace process, including with regard to the 1967 lines and to East Jerusalem as set out in the relevant conclusions of the Council of the European Union, Italy continues to support all efforts aimed at restoring a political horizon, such as the rounds of talks held by the American Administration with both parties. In this regard, we reiterate our conviction that any viable plan must be in line with the two-State solution, the only achievable one.
In the midst of all the diplomatic efforts by the main partners and regional allies, it is important that all parties abstain from any provocation or initiative that may hinder the peace process.
Therefore, Italy reiterates its concern over the intensified expansion of settlements in the West Bank, reinforced by recent announcements and decisions by the Israeli Government, that also affected the city of Hebron. As genuine and close friends of Israel, we believe that those decisions run against the two-State prospect and undermine the chance of ensuring a future of peace and security to the parties, as also reaffirmed by resolution 2334.
On the Palestinian side, we expect a clear condemnation of all acts of violence, such as the one that took place in Har Adar in September. In the last days a lot has been talked in UNESCO linked with the discussion that we have today but we also received good news from UNESCO. We appreciated the adoption by consensus of the Palestinian resolutions at UNESCO a few days ago, on the contrary to what happened last year and we encourage further efforts in this regard for consensus and in good faith.
in August this Council approved the renewal of the mandate of UNIFIL for one more year. Despite the unanimous adoption of resolution 2373, during the negotiations diverging views emerged on how the peacekeeping mission should pursue its goals. As a member of the Security Council and as UNIFIL’s largest troop-contributor with Indonesia, not only does Italy reaffirm its support to UNIFIL, but it also calls on all international partners to acknowledge and respect the difference between the specific tasks and prerogatives of the Lebanese Authorities and those of the peacekeepers. The recent deployment in the South of the Lebanese Rapid
Intervention Regiment is evidence of the commitment of the Lebanese institutions to their own responsibilities.
Italy will cooperate with the Secretariat of the United Nations and with all relevant countries on the implementation of resolution 2373, while ensuring that improving the effectiveness of UNIFIL does not translate into a stealthy change of the mission’s mandate. It also goes without saying that an increase in UNIFIL’s operations will require the mission’s budget to be maintained at the current level.
Furthermore, the Lebanese Armed Forces, whose role in the national context is irreplaceable, will be able to cooperate more closely with UNIFIL if they continue to receive the necessary support by the international community. Therefore, we call on all partners to renew their commitment to assisting and strengthening the Lebanese Armed Forces in all possible manners. Italy is willing to host an international meeting to advocate for broader donors support.
in conclusion, I would like to turn to the joint fight against terrorism.
In Iraq important accomplishments have been recorded. But freeing areas from the control of terrorists is only as meaningful as the degree of the efforts that we put into stabilizing the Iraqi territory. To that aim, both the international community and the UN system will need to focus on humanitarian assistance and restoration of essential services in the first place, creating the conditions that will also allow for the free, safe and voluntary return of refugees and displaced persons. In the medium and long term, a responsible approach to sustainable development will be at the core of any strategy for reconciliation and inclusion of all layers of the society, so as to prevent the resurgence of terrorism.
In Syria, the fall of Raqqa city, where until recently the so-called Islamic State staged euphoric parades, is also a welcomed symbol of the collapsing fortunes of Daesh.
I thank you.