20 November 2019   22. Rabi-ul-Awwal 1441
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Friday, 01 November 2019 10:05

“Two-state solution ‘only viable option’ to end Palestinian conflict with Israel”

RIYADH: The EU’s special representative for the Middle East peace process expressed her “optimism” for an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict but admitted a two-state solution was the only viable option.

Susanna Terstal said she was confident that the international community would ultimately find a way for Israelis and Palestinians to become “good neighbours.”

During a visit to Riyadh, where she held meetings with senior Saudi officials, the diplomat said: “As special representative, I get a mandate from the member states to contribute to actions and initiatives leading to a final settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”

“For the EU, international parameters are paramount. Like the League of Arab States (Arab League), we support a two-state solution, based on the 1967 borders, with Jerusalem as a shared capital and a just solution for the refugee problem,” she added.

On current progress of the peace process, she said: “I am an optimist, I always say and I believe at a certain point as an international community there will be a solution to the conflict, and Israelis and Palestinians will manage to find a solution and live in peace and security as good neighbours.”

“That is our goal, of course, but what we see at the moment is that the situation on the ground is deteriorating: West Bank and Gaza are split; and the settlements are growing.”

“The humanitarian situation in Gaza is also a big concern to the EU. People in Gaza often do not have clean drinking water or electricity and the health situation is critical. We at the EU strive to alleviate those problems. Like Saudi Arabia, the EU is one of the biggest donors to the Palestinians,” Terstal added.

“With the EU and its member states in the past 15 years, we have spent €10 billion (SR41.6 billion). We spend that money for making the two-state solution possible. We do this to empower the Palestinian Authority, invest in rule of law, but also making sure the people can have a decent life. That’s why we also do projects in Gaza and are working on a large desalination plant there, with EU and Arab funding.

“But the ultimate goal is always a Palestinian state, in the framework of a two-state solution,” she said.

Asked about the shrinking Palestinian territory and expansionist policy of Israel, she said:

“The UN Security Council resolutions are very clear on this and we believe that we should really fight for achieving two states. We realize it’s getting harder and harder with the passing of time and the expansion of settlements.”

“But to us, the two-state solution remains the most viable option. And I think it is the same position here and that is what we are working for.”

Darul Ihsan Media Desk

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