First Published: 2017-02-16

UN insists two-state solution remains 'only way'
UN envoy to Middle East peace process says two-state solution only way to achieve legitimate national aspirations of both Israelis, Palestinians after Trump steps back from plan.
Middle East Online

Envoy urges Palestinians, Israelis to carefully contemplate future

NEW YORK CITY - The two-state solution remains "the only way" to meet the aspirations of the Palestinians and Israelis, the UN envoy for the Middle East peace process told the Security Council on Thursday.

The council met to discuss the Israeli-Palestinian conflict a day after President Donald Trump stepped back from the US commitment to a two-state solution as part of a final peace deal.

"The two-state solution remains the only way to achieve the legitimate national aspirations of both peoples," Nickolay Mladenov told the council.

"Some may hold the illusion that the conflict can be 'managed' indefinitely," Mladenov said. "That the absence of a clear strategy to advance peace is a strategy in itself."

The envoy urged Israeli and Palestinian leaders to "carefully contemplate the future," which he warned could be one "built on perpetual conflict, rising extremism and occupation."

Trump announced Wednesday that the United States would not insist on a two-state solution to the conflict, in a break from Washington's decades-old policy and from the international consensus on the peace process.

"I'm looking at two-state and one-state, and I like the one that both parties like. I'm very happy with the one that both parties like," Trump said. "I can live with either one."

Trump's comments were welcomed by Israel's rightwing government but the Palestinians reacted with alarm.

Britain, France and Sweden reaffirmed their support for a two-state solution.

"It is very dangerous to move away from the two-state solution idea, especially before you have something viable as an alternative," Sweden's Ambassador Olof Skoog warned.

"We don't see any viable alternative right now," Skoog told reporters ahead of the meeting. Sweden has recognized Palestinian statehood.

British Ambassador Matthew Rycroft said his government "continues to believe that the best solution for peace in the Middle East is the two-state solution."

French Ambassador Francois Delattre echoed Mladenov's comments, saying: "should the prospect of a Palestinian State disappear, it would open the door to more extremism and more terrorism."


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