General Assembly Security Council

Security Council open debate on

‘The Situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question’

Statement by

Ambassador T.S. Tirumurti

Permanent Representative of India to the United  Nations

[26 January 2021]

Thank you, Mr. President.

At the outset, I welcome all high dignitaries to the open debate on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian Question.

Let me congratulate and extend a warm welcome to the new UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process. I also acknowledge the presence of Secretary-General of the League of Arab States and thank him for his briefing

Mr. President,

  1. It is heartening to see positive developments with regard to the Israel-Palestine issue.
  1. India welcomes the announcement of convening of the legislative, presidential and national council elections later this year in Palestine and urges all parties to take necessary further steps to ensure that these elections are held smoothly, fulfilling the democratic aspirations of the Palestinian people.
  1. We acknowledge and appreciate the efforts, inter alia, of Egypt in the process of rapprochement between the Palestinian parties, thereby bringing them together to end the divide. The resumption of civil and security cooperation between Israel and the Palestinian Authority has also begun to alleviate the situation on the ground in Palestinian territories.
  1. The normalization of relations between Israel and some member states of the League of Arab states is also an important development, which has the potential to promote regional cooperation for peace, security and prosperity. Further, this can provide the necessary momentum for resumption of direct negotiations between Israel and Palestine.
  1. India has always called for a just and comprehensive solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict, and has welcomed all peaceful efforts to achieve the two-State solution, through direct negotiations between the two parties. In this context, India reiterates its support for President Abbas’ call to hold an international peace conference with the participation of all relevant parties to achieve the vision of a sovereign and independent Palestine living side by side in peace and security with Israel.
  1. We support the efforts of the Secretary-General and the UN Special Coordinator to resume the peace process, including through revitalizing the Quartet, and help mediate the peace negotiations.
  1. We also take note of the joint efforts by Egypt, Jordan, France and Germany aimed at strengthening the collective commitment on the part of the international community to facilitate the peace process.
  1. India has made a multi-year enhanced annual financial contribution of USD 5 million to support UNRWA's work in providing humanitarian assistance and essential services. As an incoming member of the UNRWA Advisory Committee, India will continue to strengthen its contribution to the Agency.
  1. On the development aspect of our engagement with Palestine, India has been consistently supporting Palestinian nation-building efforts through human resource development and institution building. We are currently undertaking several projects in many sectors, including health, education and, technology of around USD 72 million. We also provide over 250 scholarships for Palestinian youth and officials on an annual basis. India has also supplied critical life saving drugs and medical equipment to Palestine as assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mr. President,

  1. On the broader regional developments, India welcomes the signing of the Al-Ula Declaration, which has ushered in rapprochement and reconciliation among the GCC countries. We acknowledge the key role of a unified GCC in promoting peace, stability and prosperity in the region.
  2. The talks between Israel and Lebanon last year is a positive development. India looks forward to the swift formation of the Government in Lebanon that can offer political stability and also tackle the grave socio-economic challenges being faced by the people of Lebanon. India will continue to stand by Lebanon during its time of need.
  3. India has committed itself and contributed to the efforts towards bringing lasting peace and stability in the region through deployment of our personnel as part of UN Peace Keeping Forces, including in UNIFIL and UNDOF, through substantial and timely humanitarian assistance, and through development cooperation and capacity building. India proposes to supply vaccines to the region to help the countries fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
  4. To conclude, India reaffirms its commitment for a just solution to the Palestinian issue and stands ready to continue its engagement with the region, with an abiding faith in realizing the vision of sustained peace and stability in the Middle East.

I thank you, Mr. President.