"Our abstention does not change our long-standing position on resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict."

Explanation of vote by Deputy Political Co-ordinator Tom Meek of the UK Mission to the UN on the General Assembly Resolution on Flags

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Thank you Madam President.

The United Kingdom Government decides its voting position based on the text of each resolution. It has traditionally been the case that only flags of United Nations Member States are flown at the Headquarters. Despite our long-held support for the creation of a Palestinian state, we have not been provided with any compelling reason to justify changing this longstanding practice. Therefore, we have chosen to abstain on this resolution.

Our abstention does not change our long-standing position on resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. A just and lasting settlement is long overdue. The prospect of a peace agreement has been diminishing in recent years and a clear political horizon is desperately needed. The worsening situation on the ground in the Occupied Palestinian Territories is of great concern and must be addressed.

As we said when Palestine was granted non-Member Observer State status in November 2012, we want to see a Palestinian state represented throughout all the organs of the United Nations. However, it remains our firm belief that a negotiated two-state solution is the only way to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict once and for all, and remains the best way to achieve Palestinian national aspirations in reality and on the ground.

Our priority remains to work with the parties and our international partners to safeguard the prospect of a two state solution and to create an environment conducive to a return to peace talks. We will continue to encourage and support both Palestinian and Israeli leadership to take the difficult decisions needed for peace.

This is the only way to end the occupation and deliver the peace and security which both Israelis and Palestinians so deserve.

Thank you Madam President.

Published 11 September 2015