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S. Africa's Zuma: No Mideast peace without Palestine

23-11-2015 22:01

Source: Turkish Weekly

 

There can be no lasting peace in the Middle East as long as the Palestinian people are denied a state of their own, South African President Jacob Zuma declared Tuesday.

 

 

“South Africa supports international efforts aimed at the establishment of a viable Palestinian state, existing side-by-side and in peace with Israel, within internationally recognized borders with East Jerusalem as its capital,” Zuma said at a Tuesday press briefing.

 

He said South African envoys to the Middle East had recently concluded two rounds of consultations, which took them to Palestine, Israel and Jordan and a number of other countries in the region.

 

“We urge parties to the [Israel-Palestine] conflict to return to the negotiating table without any preconditions and engage in genuine dialogue,” Zuma asserted.

 

The president went on to say that his government was of the opinion that several basic issues – which had in the past hindered a resolution of the decades-long conflict – had to be addressed.

 

“All Palestinian parties and groups need to form a collective solidarity front for negotiations,” Zuma said.

 

He also called for the lifting of an eight-year-old Israeli-Egyptian blockade of the Gaza Strip so as to allow the delivery of humanitarian aid to the densely-populated coastal enclave.

 

He also called on Israel to halt the ongoing construction of Jewish-only settlements on expropriated Palestinian land and for a solution to the ongoing plight of Palestinian refugees.

 

Zuma made the comments while discussing South African foreign policy in an address delivered before foreign diplomats.

 

He also lauded last week’s decision by the UN General Assembly to raise the Palestinian flag outside the UN’s New York headquarters – a move he described as “a great victory for the Palestinian cause”.

 

- UNSC reform

 

Zuma went on to note that his country would use its participation at the upcoming 70th session of the UN General Assembly to continue pushing for the reform of the 15-member UN Security Council (UNSC).

 

He pointed out that Africa, which has a combined population of over one billion people, lacked a permanent seat on the UNSC, which, he said, played a vital role in promoting world peace and security.

 

He also condemned recent acts of terrorism committed by militant groups in Somalia, Kenya, Nigeria and certain parts of North Africa.

 

Commenting on the situation in Libya, Zuma blamed bombing by NATO forces in that country for the current influx of migrants into several western states.

 

Before the “Arab Spring” uprisings and the death of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, refugees from the region had not fled to Europe, said Zuma, adding that NATO bombing had gravely undermined security in the North African country.

 


Topics : #Peace process  #Occupied Palestinian Territories #SouthAfrica #Zuma

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