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Sunday, 25 December 2016 15:23

Saudi Arabia welcomes UN vote denouncing Israeli settlements

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Riyadh, Dec 25: Saudi Arabia has welcomed Friday’s UN resolution strongly advising Israel to end its illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories, with the Saudi Foreign Ministry calling the decision “commendable.”


The vote on Friday at the 15-member UN Security Council passed the resolution 14-0 with the United States, which traditionally uses its permanent place on the council to veto any resolutions critical of Israel, abstaining.

“The Kingdom has commended the adoption of the UN Security Council (UNSC) resolution condemning Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories and asked for a ban of settlements,” said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Saturday. “The decision undoubtedly confirms the illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem,” said the statement carried by the Saud Press Agency (SPA).

The statement said that the Kingdom hopes the decision will contribute to reviving the peace process in the region in line with relevant UN resolutions and the Arab peace initiative leading to an independent Palestinian state.

Also, the Jeddah-based Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) welcomed the adoption of the UNSC resolution condemning Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories. Secretary-General of the OIC Yusuf Al-Othaimeen said in a statement that the resolution is “historic and reaffirms the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people.”

He commended the stances and the efforts of the Islamic countries, including all UNSC member states that voted for the resolution, and called for its implementation.

The US abstention that allowed UN to demand an end to settlements is indeed a serious step in the right direction, which will go a long way in restoring peace and security in the region.

In Cairo, Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Abulghait also welcomed the UN Security Council resolution. The Arab League chief said that “settlement activities have been a major obstacle in reaching a two-state solution,” which is the most important component for peace and security.

Mishal bin Faham Al-Sulami, chief of the Arab Parliamentary Union, also welcomed the UN resolution that considers Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories “flagrant violations of international law and they constitute an obstacle of the two-state solution.” He said the decision is “an important step forward in the restoration of the Palestinian rights.”

Turkish Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Yunus Demirer said: “We welcome the resolution adopted by the UN Security Council, which notes that Israel’s settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territories are contrary to international law.”

“Israel should fulfill its legal obligations as the occupying power, and it is confirmed that the settlements pose an obstacle to the vision for the two-state solution,” Demirer added

The diplomat reiterated the call for Israel “to abide by this resolution that reflects the joint approach of the international community, and stop at once its ongoing illegal settlement activities in East Jerusalem and the West Bank.” He said that Turkey stands with Saudi Arabia and other Arab states as far as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is concerned.

Stressing the need to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict urgentl,y Luca Ferrari, Italian ambassador to Saudi Arabia, called on the warring factions to “work out solutions within the framework of the two-state theory, and settle the conflict, which will go a long way in restoring peace and security in the region ... Italy has been in favor of the Saudi peace plan of 2002,” added the envoy.

He said that the international community, including Italy and Saudi Arabia, have been exerting efforts to find a solution to the conflict for the last several decades. “It’s high time to solve the major problems of the Middle East region.”

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, in a astatement, called on Israel to stop the illegal construction of settlements in Palestine and said that the UN resolution is “a victory for the people of Palestine.”

The statement said that Malaysia and three countries, namely New Zealand, Senegal, and Venezuela, had put the text of a draft resolution to vote Friday in a largely tense and unexpected climax to the chain of events.
“Alhamdulillah, with the grace of God, the resolution which faced uncertainty when Egypt withdrew the draft, has finally answered the prayers of the people of Palestine,” said Najib in the statement.

An Arab diplomat, who refused to be identified, said that the UNSC decision is “an endorsement of the support from the international community that opposed the breach of international law by Israel ... The need of the hour is to sit together to find a solution to the problems besieging the Middle East, especially Palestine,” said the diplomat while talking to Arab News.


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