Kofi Annan warns the UN Security Council that the Middle East is in “profound crisis”

SG Annan told the UN Security Council in New York today that “mistrust between Israelis and Palestinians is reaching new heights, that tensions in the region are near the breaking point… Extremism and populism are leaving less political space for moderates, including those States that have reached peace agreements with Israel… ”

Sounding for all the world like George W. Bush — can you find any difference? — the UNSG told the Security Council that “I believe in the right of Israel to exist, and to exist in full and permanent security – free from terrorism, free from attack, free even from the threat of attack… I believe in the right of the Palestinians to exercise their self-determination. They have been miserably abused and exploited… They deserve to see fulfilled their simple ambition to live in freedom and dignity.”

Skating on pretty thin ice, the SG told the Security Council that the Road Map (which was endorsed by the Council in resolution 1515) should still be the “reference point” for a new and urgent push for peace.  

But, the SG said, the Quartet (the U.S., European Union, Russia, and the UN – which sponsored the plan) should also be “open to new ideas and initiatives.”

The Quartet need “to find a way to institutionalize its consultations with the relevant regional partners.  It needs to engage the parties directly in its deliberations. The time has come for the Quartet to be clearer at the outset on the parameters of an end-game deal,” the UNSG told the UN Security Council.

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