NEW YORK, 21 MARCH 1997
STATEMENT BY AMBASSADOR ANTÓNIO MONTEIRO, PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF PORTUGAL, TO THE SECURITY COUNCIL 3756th MEETING (Agenda on the situation in the occupied Arab territories)*
* Portugal voted in favour of the draft resolution submitted by Egypt and Qatar
I do not need to elaborate on the Portuguese position on the decision of the Government of Israel to build a new settlement in the Jabal Abu Ghneim/Har Homa area of East Jerusalem. My country co-sponsored the draft resolution considered by the Security Council at its 3747th meeting and the resolution adopted by the General Assembly.
We consider the Israeli decision to be illegal under international law and a violation of the agreements reached so far by the interested parties. Its overall effect on the peace process is harmful.
We had hoped that this time the Council would have been able to agree on a formula that would permit it to assume its responsibilities and firmly to express its support for the Middle East peace process. Unfortunately, we have not been able to reach this stage, despite the efforts of many delegations to achieve a consensus on this subject.
We condemn and regret the bombing attack that took place today in Israel. Targeting innocent people is not the right way to apply pressure or to solve disputes. The current lack of confidence in the Middle East peace process is being utilized by those who want to jeopardize the achievements reached to date by the interested parties.
We urge Israel to reconsider and stop all actions that create mistrust among the Palestinian and Arab peoples and thereby risk alienating them from the negotiations.
On the other hand, we exhort the Palestinian people and their leaders to continue to show restraint and not to resort to violence. Violence serves only the interests of the enemies of peace.
All parties concerned must realize that, ultimately, there is no alternative to the peace process. Each party must live up to its commitments. Each one is liable for its actions.