Thursday, 5 March 2020
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Middle East Peace Process
39. To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade his views on the recent peace plan announcement for the Middle East put forward by the administration of the United States of America; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2715/20]
I have already commented publicly on the US Middle East plan. My statement following the release of the plan on 28 January was as follows:
"The US initiative on the Middle East Peace Process has just been announced. I have engaged very actively with the US Middle East team over the past three years. I have made clear that Ireland would be willing to support any peace initiative that respected the international parameters for a two-state solution and UN Security Council resolutions, and provided a basis to meet the aspirations of both peoples. We need to see the details and assess the full implications of the US initiative, but from what I have heard so far, the proposed plan does not meet this threshold. A successful resolution of the conflict can only be reached if both parties are included on an equal basis and can work together for an agreed outcome. No solution can be imposed and no unilateral moves should take place.I am deeply concerned by the comments made by PM Netanyahu today regarding extending Israeli sovereignty over the Jordan Valley and over settlements across the West Bank.
Let me be clear - annexation of territory by force is prohibited under international law, including by the UN Charter. Such an action would be a decisive step away from the Oslo Accords, which both parties signed, and which Ireland has worked tirelessly to support for over 25 years. It would also be a decisive step away from the commitment to an agreed solution between the parties; a solution which could be backed and supported by the international community as a whole.
We will study the plan in more detail but our initial response is one of grave concern that it fails to achieve the balance and equality of esteem necessary to gain the support of both sides to the conflict and the international community.
I intend to remain in close contact with the parties, the countries of the region, with our EU partners and with the US."
In the weeks since the announcement of the US plan, my EU colleagues and I have continued to stress that any solution will require the agreement of both parties, and that no unilateral actions should take place. I welcomed the statement by the EU High Representative on 4 February, which recalled the EU’s commitment a negotiated two-State solution, based on 1967 lines; called on both sides to re-engage and to refrain from any unilateral actions contrary to international law that could exacerbate tensions; and made clear that steps towards annexation, if implemented, could not pass unchallenged.
Ireland’s longstanding support for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict remains an integral aspect of our foreign policy, which I will continue to prioritise.