South Africa explains its Vote in favour of the Draft Resolution on Israeli Settlements, 18 February 2011

(Statement read out by Ambassador Baso Sangqu; Permanent Representative of the Republic of South Africa)

New York: My delegation regrets that we were unable to adopt the draft resolution before us today.

South Africa voted in favour of the draft resolution, as we join those that believe that illegal Israeli settlement activity has become an obstacle to moving the peace process forward. The continued illegitimate settlement building changes the geographical make up of Palestine and has the potential to render impossible the desire to bring about a two - state solution; in line with the overwhelming call for the creation of a sovereign; independent; viable and contiguous Palestinian State; co - existing peacefully alongside the State of Israel on the basis of the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its Capital.

This Council has an obligation to ensure that the peace process moves forward and a final settlement can be reached between the parties. The Council should therefore respond to obstacles; such as illegal settlement and activity; which hampers the peace process and thus poses a threat to international peace and security.

Madame President

Despite the failure of this Council to act; the peace process has to move forward beyond today. The parties are still under an obligation to comply with their previous agreements and obligations in terms of the Quartet Road Map; which includes those on illegal settlements.

In this regard, we call on Israel to immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territory; including East Jerusalem.

Madam President

The draft resolution had called upon the parties to continue with their negotiations on final status issues which include questions on Jerusalem; settlements; borders and refugees. It is imperative that the parties do not abandon the path of negotiations. We; as the international community have an obligation to support the parties in their endeavour in reaching this goal.

I thank you

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