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Peace at home, peace in the world

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Speech by H.E. Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey, at the Middle East Peace Conference, 15 January 2017, Paris

Mr. Chairman,

Dear Colleagues,

I hope that this conference will reaffirm the commitment of the international community to help achieve a lasting solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The Palestinian people have been living under occupation for half a century. The number of Palestinian refugees is now over 5 million. Meanwhile, illegal settlements are increasing.

In Gaza, 2 million Palestinians are trying to survive under the most difficult conditions. Among other things, there is an acute shortage of water and electricity.

There is a continued sense of injustice in Palestine. And this is exploited by the extremists to advance their ideology and recruit more people.

Therefore, finding a lasting solution to the Palestinian issue is also important for the overall security environment in the region.

However, this cannot be achieved without an end to the occupation of the lands on which the State of Palestine should foster by developing its own economy.

The UN Security Council Resolution 2334 and the remarks of the US Secretary of State, John Kerry included important elements and warnings. Indeed, it is high time to take action to preserve the prospects for peace.

Negotiation of a two-state solution through established parameters, with a timeframe and a date for the end of the occupation, should not be postponed any longer.

Achievement of Palestinian national reconciliation is part and parcel of a viable peace and its implementation.

Two state solution will only be complete with a democratic and inclusive Palestine based on the rule of law and human rights.

The general outlines of a solution have been clear for decades. Among them are security for both sides and a just solution to the question of the Palestinian refugees.

The process should lead to an independent, sovereign and contiguous Palestinian state on the basis of the 1967 borders.

East Jerusalem has to be the capital of the State of Palestine. Attempts at compromising this perspective will be counterproductive and will not serve peace in the region.

It is very important to preserve the status of Jerusalem and its holy sites, including the Islamic character of Al-Haram Al-Sharif. This is essential for a future in harmony and peaceful coexistence.

The State of Palestine is already recognized by 137 countries. This number should increase. The UN General Assembly approved Palestine’s status as a non-member state. And its flag took its rightful place at the UN buildings.

Our efforts to re-vitalize the political track continue. However, in the meantime, we should care for the basic needs of the Palestinian people.

On our part, we provided 100 million Dollars’ worth of aid to Palestine in the last two years. We aim to raise the total amount of aid to 700 million Dollars by 2021.

Dear Colleagues,

The vision for a future of regional cooperation is enshrined in the Arab Peace Initiative. It is time for all relevant parties to make effective use of this vision.

Inaction will leave the ground to extremist agendas that would only cause more suffering and destruction.

If this is not the kind of future we wish to see, we must all redouble our efforts towards a just and viable Middle East peace, which is long overdue.

Thank you.