Pascoe: Return to peace talks is crucially important

At Security Council session on Middle East, UN Under-secretary General for Political Affairs calls firing of phosphorus shells "worrying escalation."

Lynn Pascoe (photo credit: Courtesy)
Lynn Pascoe
(photo credit: Courtesy)
NEW YORK - Addressing the Security Council in a session on the Middle East, UN Under-secretary General for Political Affairs B. Lynn Pascoe underscored the hope for a return to Israeli-Palestinian talks as “crucially important.”
Pascoe cited regional consultations with the League of Arab States, as well as efforts by Egyptian and American interlocutors to encourage diplomacy between the two sides.
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“It is essential that the parties engage seriously and make substantive progress quickly once the talks resume, with a view to resolve all permanent status issues,” Pascoe said. “Quartet envoys have been in regular contact, and we support a Quartet meeting soon to help move the process forward.”
Noting that there has been “significant construction” in settlements as well as plans to construct more, Pascoe said the UN calls “on Israel to fulfill its Roadmap obligation to freeze illegal settlement construction and not to implement plans for additional settlement units.”
Pascoe also said “the annexation of east Jerusalem is not recognized by the international community, and that the status of Jerusalem is a permanent status issue that must be resolved through negotiations between the parties.”
Pascoe urged member states to assist the Palestinian Authority’s state-building agenda in order to improve its “liquidity situation.” The Consolidated Appeal for 2011 for funds is to be presented in Brussels November 30, articulating humanitarian strategies to address needs in Gaza and the West Bank, including east Jerusalem. Pascoe also cited incidents between Israeli settlers and Palestinians, and said humanitarian workers needed better access to the West Bank, including east Jerusalem and Gaza.
Calling the firing of four phosphorous mortar shells into Israel a “worrying escalation,” Pascoe said the UN continues to condemn rocket fire and that it must cease, but urged all parties “to show calm and restraint and respect international humanitarian law.”
“I reiterate my deep concern at all armed activity which puts civilians in danger, or is aimed at civilian populations,” Pascoe said.
Pascoe said the UN’s priority is to rebuild the Gazan economy in the framework of full implementation of Security Council resolution 1860, which was intended to resolve the 2008-2009 war in Gaza. Pascoe called on Israel to facilitate Palestinian ability to export goods, to move freely and to attain construction materials.
Pascoe also reiterated a call for the release of Gilad Shalit.