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Permanent Mission of the Republic of the Philippines to the United Nations
First of all, I would like to congratulate you for having assumed the presidency of the Security Council for the month of July and also to express my appreciation to you and the other Members of the Security Council for this opportunity to address this chamber on a matter that is of grave importance to all of us - the peace, security and stability of the Middle East.
The Philippines associates itself with the statement delivered by the distinguished permanent representative of the Arab Republic of Egypt on behalf of the Non-Align Movement but at the same time wishes to stress on certain points.
The Philippines’ position regarding the situation in the Middle East, specifically the Palestinian Question, remains clear and consistent. The Philippines has always supported the establishment of a free and independent Palestinian State and the Philippines has for many years joined in the global clamor for the establishment of a Palestinian Homeland. In this regard, the Philippines sees merit in the “Two-State Solution” proposed by our partners for peace and hopes that both Israel and Palestine put their hands together to meaningfully achieve a long-lasting and durable solution to the problem.
The Philippines is sensitive to the legitimate security concerns of the State of Israel and the right of its people to live free from fear and free from harm. Indeed, the Philippines shares Israel’s deep concern for its safety and its existence as a state. But as we have witnessed repeatedly, force only begets force.
The Philippines joins the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) as well as other partners, in calling for the full and immediate lifting of the blockade leveled against Gaza to enable as much as possible a free entry of food, medical supplies, and other daily necessities. The Philippines believes that the continued existence of this blockade only succeeds in alienating and punishing the innocent Palestinians. Moreover, the residents of Gaza must also be allowed to move freely and to travel to their place of work or employment that lies outside of Gaza without hindrance or harassment. We cannot turn a blind eye to the suffering of innocent Palestinian civilians in Gaza, particularly women and children, who suffer the most in this conflict. The United Nations therefore has the inescapable responsibility of taking the necessary steps to alleviate the pain and suffering of the Palestinian people.
The Philippines urges Israel and Palestine to re-establish their proximity talks and negotiations. It is a tortuous and fitful process but it is the only viable course of action.
The Philippines believes that only a diplomatic solution – that is, a resumption of a sincere and meaningful dialogue between the two contending parties - can bring a just, comprehensive and enduring solution to this problem. The environment of conflict, anguish and the climate of fear should not be allowed to continue. Instead, both parties must promote a climate of trust and respect to one another.
The Philippines strongly supports the role of the Madrid Quartet (the United States, the European Union, the Russian Federation and the United Nations), the Arab Group, the Organization of the Islamic Conference, the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and even NGOs and Advocacy Groups in ensuring that the momentum for peace talks does not fizzle out.
On a much broader perspective, all countries in the Middle East region, including Israel, must be encouraged to find the fortitude to explore uncharted avenues to durable peace in their part of the world. The 2010 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Review Conference through the follow-on action to the Resolution on the Middle East at the 1995 NPT Review and Extension Conference has opened a gateway by which other options may contribute or lead to a direction towards a peaceful Middle East.
In conclusion, Madam President, the Philippines applauds the Security Council for its full and continuous involvement in this issue. I wish to assure you and all of our partners in the United Nations that the Philippines stands ready to do its part to contribute to the building of a lasting peace in the region and to help Israel and Palestine find a way towards a peaceful and friendly co-existence.
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