Quartet committee on Palestine calls for reviving peace process, two-state solution

Ahram Online , Monday 11 Jan 2021

Minister Shoukry said that the quartet meeting discussed the revival of 'a serious peace talks process'

The Ministers of the Quartet committee in Cairo during the press conference (Photo: Egyptian foreign ministry)

Egypt’s stance regarding the Palestinian cause has not changed and Egypt still supports the two-state solution based on the 1967 borders, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said on Monday in Cairo.

In a press conference Shoukry held with his counterparts from Jordan, France and Germany following their meeting on ways to revive the peace process in the Middle East, the Egyptian foreign minister said that Egypt welcomes any effort to find a fair solution to the Palestinian issue.

Minister Shoukry said that the quartet meeting discussed the revival of “a serious peace talks process.”

“There is a responsibility for the quartet committee to re-launch the peace talks, which have been frozen for years now, to reach a fair and comprehensive peace agreement,” he said

During the press conference, Shoukry said that Egypt understood the pivotal role of the United States in the Middle East.

He also referred to the important role of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) in providing services to Palestinian refugees, especially amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Shoukry called on donors to donate to UNRWA, which serves at least 5 million Palestinian refugees, to enable the organisation to continue offer its services during this critical time.

In 2018, the administration of US President Donald Trump cut funding for UNRWA and US Aid in Gaza, which was a major blow to the two organisations.

The US has long been the largest individual donor to UNRWA. According to observers, the move was taken to pressure the Palestinian Authority to accept the Trump’s administrations terms in the peace process.

France’s Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said that the next meeting of the quartet committee would be held in Paris to continue consultation regarding ways to boost the peace process.

Le Drian added that restoring and establishing relations between Arab countries and Israel was a positive development that supports stability in the Middle East, referring to the recent agreements to normalise relations between Israel and Bahrain, the UAE and Morocco.

On the other hand, the French foreign minister said that Israel must respect the past agreements it had signed.

“We will reach a solution that meets the needs of the two people, the Palestinians and Israelis,” he said.

Le Drian also called on the US to play a role in resolving the Palestinian issue.

The French minister’s statement comes days before US President-elect Joe Biden will be sworn in along with his administration.  

Germany’s Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said during the press conference that the quartet meeting focused on steps that should be taken to rebuild confidence between the Palestinians and Israelis in order to encourage them to return to talks

He also said that the quartet committee agreed to speak with officials in the EU and the US to revive dialogue.

“We know that this conflict affects a lot of conflicts in the region, and we want to solve it permanently,” Maas said.

“Germany sees that the best solution to the conflict is the two-state solution,” he said, adding that Germany is committed to supporting the UNRWA financially.

Jordan’s Foreign Minister Ayman El-Safai stressed the urgency to move quickly in order to stop Israel from expanding in building illegal settlements in the 1967 territories.

He added that matters are deteriorating in the peace process between the Palestinians and the Israelis.

Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi met earlier on Monday with the ministers of the quartet committee where they discussed the latest developments in the peace process.

During the meeting held earlier in Cairo, the four ministers agreed on 11 provisions in order to revive the peace process, at the top of which is the immediate return to talks between the Palestinians and Israelis.

The 11 provisions included the committee’s commitment to the two-state solution based on the 1967 borders and UN Security Council resolutions.

The ministers also called on both parties to avoid any unilateral actions that might negatively impact the revival of the peace process. The committee also renewed its call for an immediate cessation of constructing illegal settlements in the 1967 Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem, as this is a clear violation of international laws and resolutions.

The committee also stressed the need to preserve the character and culture of the 1967 occupied Palestinian territories and the importance of preserving the historical and legal status of the holy places in Jerusalem, and asserted the importance of having the historical Hashemite guardianship of the holy sites in Jerusalem.

The committee also welcomed the recent developments concerning the reconciliation between different Palestinian political factions.

The ministers also asserted their full support for the UNRWA and its activities and called on countries to support it financially.

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