'A just and lasting resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is long overdue'

This speech was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Explanation of Vote by Ambassador Lyall Grant of the UK Mission to the UN, to the Security Council meeting on the Middle East

Thank you, Mr President

The United Kingdom understands, and shares, the deep frustration at the lack of progress on the Middle East Peace Process and the unacceptability and unsustainability of the status quo. A just and lasting resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is long overdue.

We will continue to spare no effort to turn our ambition - the creation of a sovereign, contiguous and viable Palestinian State living in peace and security side by side with Israel – into reality.

We have long believed that direct negotiations towards a two-state solution need to be on the basis of clear, internationally agreed, parameters. I recall that in February 2011 I set out in this Chamber our view of what these should be in a joint United Kingdom, France, and Germany Explanation of Vote on a resolution on Settlements. We therefore welcome the idea of a Security Council resolution on the Middle East Peace Process which sets out these parameters.

However agreeing such a resolution requires proper time for consultation, and negotiation of the draft resolution, including on its timing. We consider President Abbas a man of peace and understand the pressure that the Palestinian leadership has been under to act and their frustration at the lack of progress. But we are disappointed that the normal, and necessary, negotiation did not take place on this occasion.

The United Kingdom supports much of the content of the draft resolution. It is therefore with deep regret that we abstained on it. The United Kingdom stands by the parameters I set out here in 2011 and which were reiterated by the European Union Foreign Affairs Council Conclusions of July 2014. Our views on settlements, including in East Jerusalem, are clear: they are illegal under international law, an obstacle to peace and seriously damage prospects for a two-state solution. All settlement activity, including in East Jerusalem, should cease immediately. We call on all parties not to take unilateral steps which would make the search for peace based on negotiations harder.

Mr President

Given the fact that this draft resolution has not been adopted today, the United Kingdom would like to work with partners to revisit the idea of a parameters resolution on the Middle East Peace Process in 2015. We are convinced that it is possible, with further time and effort, to secure for the first time ever a resolution which commands full Security Council support.

I thank you.