Declaration by Minister Reynders following the awarding to Palestine of the status of observer/non-member state

date: 30 November 2012

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs Didier Reynders welcomes the decision made by the General Assembly of the United Nations to give Palestine the status of observer/non-member state. This vote is a major step towards the creation of a Palestinian state of which Belgium and the international community are in favour. Nevertheless, Belgium is of the opinion that there will only be a real breakthrough once the Palestinians are able to enjoy a state with the necessary institutions, officials and resources to operate properly.

Belgium voted in favour of the draft resolution as it fully agrees with its purpose, namely  a solution that sees two states existing in peace and security alongside one another. In order to achieve this, the future Palestinian state must be democratic, viable and durable.

However, Minister Reynders deplores the fact that the 27 EU Member States did not reach a common position during the vote in New York. Belgium pulled out all stops and adopted a very constructive position. Minister Reynders nonetheless welcomes the fact that there is a European consensus on the final objective to be reached and that the EU will continue to support the process.

For Belgium, the resolution adopted today by the General Assembly does not yet constitute recognition of Palestine as a state in the full sense of the word.  Didier Reynders welcomes the commitment of the Israeli government not to bring existing agreements into question.

As High Representative Catherine Ashton did in the name of the European Union, Minister Reynders is also calling upon all parties to reach a solution to the conflict with the necessary urgency. In consultation with the United States, the EU must work on a peace initiative that will establish the parameters for the negotiation process and that will offer both parties sufficient guarantees and incentives.

Today’s vote sends a signal that the peace process needs impetus. A speedy and unconditional resumption of negotiations is necessary. Talks must be held today, not tomorrow, according to Didier Reynders.