Role of the South African Government on its own, or through the African Union or with other partners to help advance negotiations between the Palestinian Authority and Israel to encourage both parties to participate in negotiations that will allow them to overcome their current political impasse

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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

FOR WRITTEN ORAL REPLY

QUESTION NO: 3777 (NW4519E)

PUBLISHED IN INTERNAL QUESTION PAPER NO: 42 -2015 OF 23 OCTOBER 2015

HON. M G P LEKOTA OF THE CONGRESSOF THE PEOPLE (COPE) TO ASK THE MINISTER OF INTERNATIONAL AND COOPERATION:

1. Whether, since her reply to oral question 24 of 10 March 2015, the Government still continues to play any role on its own, or through the African Union or with any other partners in helping to advance negotiations between the Palestinian authority and Israel in order to encourage both parties to participate in direct negotiations that will allow them to overcome the political impasse they are in; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details;

2. Whether she will make a statement on the sustainability and feasibility of the two- state-solution?

REPLIES:

1. The South African Government indeed continues to play a role on its own, through the African Union and with other partners internationally to advance peaceful negotiations between the Palestinians and Israelis aimed at encouraging both sides to partake in direct talks that will lead to a permanent resolution of that conflict.

The South African Government maintains an Embassy in Tel Aviv, Israel and a Representative Office in Ramallah, Palestine while both the Palestinians and Israelis have Embassies in Pretoria. It is through these channels that South Africa interacts directly with the two parties in conflict.

Furthermore, President Jacob Zuma appointed Former Minister, Dr Zola Skweyiya and former Deputy Minister, Aziz Pahad as his Special Envoys to the Middle East Peace Process. The Envoys have visited Palestine and Israel including other neighbouring countries in the region to exchange views on a possible way forward. The envoys have also been meeting with different Embassies accredited to South Africa and different interest groups in pursuance of their mandate.

South Africa continues to promote the peaceful resolution of the Middle East conflict in SADC, the AU, the Non-Aligned Movement, the UN and other international fora including BRICS.  

2. The Minister has no intention of making a statement on the sustainability or feasibility of the two-state-solution.  The South African Government takes its cue from the Israelis and Palestinians themselves as well as from the UN and other international and multilateral bodies.  It is not for us to pronounce on the sustainability or feasibility of a two-state solution.  South Africa, however, supports efforts to establish a viable Palestinian state, existing side by side with in peace with Israel within internationally recognised borders, based on those existing on June 1967, and prior to the outbreak of the 1967 Arab – Israeli war, with East Jerusalem as its capital.

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