January 25, 2018
The situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian Question

Statement of H.E. Archbishop Bernardito Auza
Apostolic Nuncio and Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations

Security Council Open Debate on
The situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian Question

New York, 25 January 2018

Mr. President,

The Holy See congratulates you on Kazakhstan’s assumption of the Presidency of the Security Council for this month, and for convening this meeting to discuss the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian Question.

The Holy See deplores the untold sufferings of millions in the Middle East because of armed conflicts in various parts of the Region, fuelled by old and new geopolitical rivalries of countries in and outside the Middle East.

The Holy See believes that to restore peace to the Region, it is urgent that the Council apply solutions envisioned by the Charter to put an end to the humanitarian crises that continue to ravage ancient peoples, religions and cultures in the Middle East.

Mr. President,

The Palestinian-Israeli peace process lies at the centre of the maelstrom sweeping the Middle East and is one of the longest-standing conflicts on this Council’s agenda. The Holy See reiterates the urgent need to resume negotiations between the parties on the central issues of the conflict, on the basis of all relevant Security Council resolutions. Pope Francis wrote on January 18 to the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar to affirm that “The Holy See, for its part, will not cease to call urgently for a resumption of dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians for a negotiated solution, aimed at the peaceful coexistence of two states within the borders agreed between them and internationally recognized, with full respect for the special nature of Jerusalem, whose meaning goes beyond any consideration of territorial issues.”

There can be no doubt that the Holy City of Jerusalem has a very special place not only in the hearts of the inhabitants of Jerusalem, but also for worshippers of the three monotheistic Abrahamic religions everywhere. For this reason, during the Thirty-Seventh Plenary Meeting of the Tenth Emergency Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly, held on 21 December 2017, the Holy See recalled “the obligation of all Nations to respect the historical status quo of the Holy City, in accordance with the relevant UN Resolutions,” and reiterated that “only an internationally guaranteed status can preserve its unique character and be an assurance of dialogue and reconciliation for peace in the region.”

Mr. President,

Today’s open debate represents a fresh opportunity and renewed appeal for action to push forward the peace processes aimed at finding durable, comprehensive and equitable solutions to the conflicts in the Middle East, achieved through political negotiations with the goodwill and collaboration of all States, under effective and impartial United Nations leadership.

Thank you, Mr. President.