Statement by

His Excellency Dr Ali Naseer Mohamed,

Permanent Representative of the Maldives to the United Nations at the

United Nations Security Council Open Debate

on the

Situation of Middle East and the Question of Palestine

18 October 2017

Thank you Madam President,

My delegation wishes to thank France in its capacity as the President of the Security Council, for convening this open debate on the Situation in the Middle East, including on the question of Palestine.

Madam President,

An independent Palestine with East Jerusalem as its Capital, living side by side with Israel, is the only solution to the Question of Palestine. We believe the only viable way to reach there is for Israel, to withdraw from the occupied territories to pre-1967 borders, and to allow the right to return for refugees to their rightful lands. The Security Council has done the right thing by passing the historic Resolution in December 2016 demanding Israel to immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestine, including East Jerusalem. The Security Council made it crystal clear that it will not recognise any changes to the 4 June 1967 lines, including with regard to Jerusalem, other than those agreed by the two sides through negotiations.

Madam President,

The Maldives strongly condemns the restrictions imposed by the occupying power to alter the historic and legal status quo in East Jerusalem, notably the Al Haram al Sharif, including the Al Agsa Mosque. The Government of Maldives calls on the occupying power, Israel, to immediately stop its illegal activities and respect its international legal obligations, in particular, the relevant Security Council Resolutions. The Maldives also welcomes the third report of the Secretary-General on the implementation of Resolution 2334, delivered to this Council by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Mr. Mladenov, and support the calls for a substantive written report in support of the Council's duties to advance the Resolution's objectives. We believe that proper documentation is necessary, especially when Israel, as the occupying power continues to disregard this Council and its legally binding Resolutions.

The Maldives calls on the Council to intensify its efforts in implementing the resolution; to ensure that Israel brings an end to illegal occupation of Palestine and the Syrian Golan, to ensure that Israel recognises and respects the sovereignty of the independent State of Palestine, and to allow the return of the refugees. This Council has the solemn responsibility of enforcing its own Resolutions. It carries with it, the hopes and aspirations of the oppressed, and victims of oppressions. Let us keep the hopes alive.

Such hopes are indeed in short supply in Syria. The conflict in this historic country is in its seventh year. Since the start of the conflict, hundreds and thousands of people have been killed, millions have been displaced, hospitals and basic infrastructure have been reduced to rubble, entire cities have been destroyed, along with its cultural heritage.

The people of Syria continue to live in fear and an uncertain future. We must act now. The Maldives calls upon the international community as well as the members of the Security Council to bring an immediate end to the conflict.

Both in Palestine and in Syria, it is the absence of one important human rights value that is missing, which is at the core of the conflict; that is the value of respect for basic human rights. It should not cost too much for the warring parties in Syria to respect the fundamental human rights of the other. Similarly, it should not cost too much for Israel to respect the basic human rights and human dignity of Palestinians; respecting the Palestinians' right for self-determination, recognising and respecting the independence and sovereignty of Palestine is in everyone's interests.

These are values the Maldives will promote and bring to the work of the Security Council if it is elected to the Council at the elections held in next June, for the term 2019 to 2020. We will work with everyone concerned in crafting shared solutions for a shared destiny; a destiny of sustainable peace.

I thank you.