Remarks by Ambassador Ferit Hoxha at the Security Council meeting on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question

5 January 2023

Thank you, Mr. President,

We have left behind a year that has marked a notorious record; it goes down as one with the highest costs of life for Palestinians and the second for Israelis in the last several years. This is a terrible mark and it only shows how desperate the situation is, and how much it needs immediate remedy.

Unfortunately, we only see increased tension and growing distrust between the parties.

Mr. President,

Every time we have spoken on the development in the Middle East, among other key aspect, we have highlighted one core issue: the need to avoid unilateral actions and steps that undermine efforts to create the atmosphere conducive to get parties together and create a political horizon towards peace. Without such prospects, as have witnessed so many times, the process is derailed, paralyzed, blinded and the situation becomes deadly. Oslo and its high hopes are two decades away now but, in reality, the prospects for peace and solution it created seem even more distant. This is not viable.

There is also another important issue we have continuously highlighted as key in maintaining peace: the need to preserve the status quo of the Holy Sites.

The current situation with inflammatory rhetoric lead in the wrong direction. We join the Secretary General in his call to the parties “to refrain from steps that could escalate tensions in and around the holy sites”.

Albania reiterates the crucial importance of preserving the status quo of the Holy Sites. There are rules agreed by the parties, binding agreements and they must be respected.

The status quo on the Holy Sites and the custodianship by the Kingdom of Jordan, as internationally agreed, are crucial for the peace and stability in the region and for the calm on the ground.

In this respect, we take note of the reassurances by the Israeli Government in its strict commitment to preserving the status quo, without changes.

Peaceful religious co-existence has always proven a valuable investment for peace and social cohesion, just as its contrary has shown how disastrous it may be.

Mr. President,

The current situation speaks volumes for the need of the political horizon to be restored as soon as possible. It can only be done jointly, through genuine efforts by both sides, through a firm commitment to two state solution within the 1967 border.

Peace means a safe Israel; it means a safe, viable, independent and democratic Palestine; it means equal rights and freedoms for all; in two states for two people, living side by side in peace and security with mutual recognition and with Jerusalem as the future shared capital.

Any different path is dangerous, unsustainable and it only jeopardizes the prospective of lasting peace.

I thank you!

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