Vietnam continues to commit to joining the international community’s collective efforts towards the peaceful settlement of Israel-Palestine and Arab-Israel conflicts, and the ultimate attainment of a just, comprehensive and lasting peace in the Middle East.

Ambassador Bui The Giang, Deputy Permanent Representative of Vietnam to the United Nations, made the statement at the Security Council open debate on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question in New York on Jan. 27.

The Ambassador said after Resolution 1860 was adopted by the UN Security Council last January, no substantive progress has been made towards a durable ceasefire between the parties concerned, the required resumption of peaceful negotiations on final status, and the sustained opening of border crossings.

He noted that Israel has yet to cease its construction and expansion of settlements and the Separation Wall, demolition of Palestinian homes and eviction of their families, and revocation of residency permits, thus directly endangering and altering the demographic composition, character, nature and status of the Occupied Palestinian Territory .

“In order to achieve a breakthrough in which an independent State of Palestine can thrive and all peoples in the region can co-exist in peace and security, all parties concerned should uphold their mutual obligations under the Road Map, the Madrid terms of reference, the Arab Peace Initiative and relevant Security Council resolutions,” the Ambassador said.

He stressed that constructive dialogue and political negotiations must be put first, whereas military option should be excluded. “ Israel must immediately freeze illegal settlement activity, dismantle outposts erected since March 2001, open all border crossings, release all Palestinian prisoners, and facilitate humanitarian assistance and reconstruction efforts in Gaza . And this State must do this with the utmost urgency and responsibility.”

Ambassador Giang also called on Palestinian factions to make sincere efforts to resolve their differences within the framework of an intra-Palestinian reconciliation and jointly work toward the establishment of a Government of national unity.

In the interest of the long-term regional peace and justice, we reiterate our calls for all the parties concerned to strictly comply with international humanitarian and human rights laws and conduct, without delay, credible domestic investigations into the many reported allegations of violations as recommended by the Goldstone Report, the Ambassador said.

Giang acknowledged the intensified efforts of the Quartet, the League of Arab States, regional countries and the international community at large in helping achieve a two-State solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict and revitalize the Middle East peace process on all tracks as well as the Palestinian National Authority’s determination, under difficult circumstances, to embark on practical policies and measures to strengthen socio-economic foundations, security sector reforms and functional institutions for a future State.

Turning to Lebanon , Ambassador Giang said, Vietnam welcomes and supports the efforts undertaken by the Lebanese Government to strengthen the national course of peace consolidation, socio-economic reconstruction and normalization of external relations, and encourage the parties in Lebanon to jointly contribute to these endeavors.

He demanded that Israel immediately and unconditionally cease all violations of Lebanese independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, including by ceasing flights over Lebanese territory and withdrawing from the northern part of Ghajar village and an adjacent area north of the Blue Line./.