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The 17th Conference of the Parties (COP17) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the 7th Session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the parties (CMP7) to the Kyoto Protocol was held in the sunny city of Durban, South Africa.

 

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Statements and Speeches

Statement Delivered by the Permanent Representative of the Republic of South Africa to the United Nations, Ambassador Kingsley Mamabolo, on the Occasion of the Security Council Open Debate on the Middle East Including the Palestinian Question

15 January 2015

Mr President,

South Africa would like to congratulate your country for assuming the Presidency of the Security Council for the month of January and to thank you for convening this important debate. Furthermore, my delegation wishes to express its appreciation to the Assistant-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jens Toyberg-Frandzen for his important briefing as well as congratulate the new members of the Security Council for their election into the Council.

South Africa aligns itself with the statements to be delivered by the distinguished Representatives of Zimbabwe on behalf of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC), the Kingdom of Morocco on behalf of the African Group and the statement delivered by the Islamic Republic of Iran on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM). 

Mr President,

During the commemorative year of the 70th anniversary of the United Nations, despite the organisation numerous achievements, it still remains to be seen when there will be a resolution to the decades long Palestinian and Israeli conflict. This decade’s long conflict is a stain on the very purposes and principles of the UN as enshrined in the UN Charter.

Last month, the Council had an opportunity to take decisive action on an issue that has long eluded it and to provide a ray of light to the Palestinians in the Occupied Territories, who endured a horrible year which witnessed a human tragedy of unprecedented proportions particularly after the tragic events that took place in Gaza.  Unfortunately, once again, to the dismay of the Palestinian people and the international community, the Security Council failed to take decisive action on a Palestinian Government led initiative which sought to provide a timeframe and parameters to ending the illegal occupation of the Palestinian lands.  

My delegation wishes to commend Council members who took a principled step by voting in support of the draft resolution which had as its sole purpose the peaceful resolution of the conflict and the realisation of the two state solution. Whilst disappointed that Security Council fell short, South Africa nonetheless welcomes the increasing support and recognition of the Palestinian statehood as reflected in various national assemblies around the world such as the UK, Ireland, Spain, France and Sweden.

Mr President,

My delegation is of the belief that the only way to bring genuine and everlasting peace between Israel and Palestine, is through having comprehensive and unconditional negotiations dealing with all the final status issues including the unrelenting and illegal expansion of Israeli settlements in the occupied territories of Palestine as well as the lifting of the Gaza blockade and the continuing illegal occupation of the Palestinian territory.

My delegation is supportive of all international efforts aimed at brokering a just resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and urges all parties to the conflict to negotiate in good faith in order to reach a permanent and just solution to the conflict. 

Mr President,

South Africa expresses its appreciation to the Government of Switzerland for convening the recent conference of the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention as well as all participating High Contracting Parties for signifying the overwhelming importance of ensuring the protection of the inalienable human rights of the Palestinian people. 

The holding of the Conference was an important step in ensuring the respect for the provisions of the Convention and international humanitarian law. Last year’s violent incursions in Gaza illustrated the need for the international community to do more to protect civilians in that conflict.

Mr President,

We are concerned of reports that the Israeli Government has decided to freeze the transfer of $127.6 million in tax revenue collected on behalf of the Palestinians following the Palestinian leadership decision to become a State Party to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC). South Africa respects the sovereign right and wishes of the State of Palestine to accede to the Rome Statute and calls upon all member states to refrain from punitive steps in retaliation to this sovereign right.

Mr President,

South Africa would like to call for the redoubling of efforts to rebuild homes and infrastructure destroyed during the war. We remain committed in supporting international efforts to assist the people of Palestine and Israel in finding lasting peace in the context of the two state solution through a negotiated settlement.  

On Syria, my delegation is concerned about the humanitarian crisis brought about by nearly four years of Syrian conflict. The conflict in Syria has been characterised by a high number of human casualties and a large number of internally displaced people and refugees fleeing into neighbouring countries which has had a destabilising impact on the entire region.

The only hope for the Syrian people lies in the willingness of the parties to the conflict to immediately put an end to the violence and to engage each other constructively in dialogue with the aim of reaching an agreement on the political transition based on the Geneva Communiqué of June 2012. It is the responsibility of the Syrian Government and the opposition to sincerely engage each other with the aim of reaching difficult decisions over the future of Syria.

Mr President,

In conclusion, my delegation would like to extend its deepest condolences to the Governments and peoples of France, Yemen, Nigeria, Australia and Pakistan who in the recent weeks have suffered inhumane and barbaric terrorist attacks.

The South African Government joins the international community in condemning all these attacks and reiterates its stance that terrorism in any form and from whichever quarter cannot be condoned. 

I thank you.