I would like to thank the Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs for his briefing and the Permanent Observer of Palestine for his statement. France associates itselfwith the statement to be made by the Head of the Delegation of the European Union.
The peace process in the Middle East remains at an impasse. On 21 September the Quartet established a one-year deadline to achieve a framework agreement on all final status issues for the creation of a sovereign, independent, viable and democratic Palestinian State living in peace alongside Israel within safe andrecognized borders. We recall the importance of achieving this goal because more than ever, time is working against peace.
Attaining this objective in 2011 means the swift resumption of negotiations on final status issues, which is the only way to bring an end to the conflict. The deadline established by the Quartet is ambitious, but this urgency is dictated by the situation on the ground,where the viability of a two-State solution seems more threatened every day. In the immediate term, moves to recreate the conditions for confidence that are necessary for negotiations, both politically and on the ground, are awaited.
The parameters for a negotiated solution are known, and we do not need to reinvent the foundation of a process that has been under way for some 20 years now. Moreover,the European Union publicly recalled those parameters recently. Accordingly, France deems it necessary, in line with what Mrs. Clinton said in her speech at the Saban Forum, to call on the parties to provide their positions on the main final status issues. We welcome the fact that the United States is planning to provide the parties with its proposals if that becomes necessary, but we recall thata close involvement of the other members of the Quartet and certain Arab States in those efforts would increase their chances of succeeding. The international community, including within this Council, must indeed be able to support those efforts in all their forms and confer on them the necessary legitimacy. We thus hope that the forthcoming meeting of the Quartet, on 5 February, will contributeto recreating conditions of confidence that are necessary between the parties.
France and the European Union have reiterated their availability to make a substantial contribution to a peace agreement and to the arrangements that that would involve. That is the message that the French Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mrs. Mich�le Alliot-Marie, while visiting the region from the 19 to 23 January,will bring to the parties, as well as to the two main regional actors in the peace process, Egypt and Jordan. The support of States in the region for the political process, based on the Arab Peace Initiative, remains crucial.
This objective involves preserving the viability of the two-State solution on the ground.
Given the increasing speed of construction, the international community, inparticular this Council, cannot relax its attention with regard to the question of settlement activity. As the European Ministers recalled on 13 December, settlement activity is illegal. It is an obstacle to peace, as it undermines confidence between parties and the viability of prospects for peace.
France desires that initiatives in this area may constitute a constructive element of the effort torelaunch discussions between the parties on all final status issues. There will be no solution to the conflict without a cessation of settlement activity, including with regard to natural growth of existing settlements.
We are asking in particular for the cessation of all measures that affect the demographic balance in Jerusalem, which is destined to become the capital of the two States. In...