Media statement on the visit of the Presidential Envoys to the Middle East, Imbizo Media Centre, Cape Town, 31 July 2014

Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen of the media

As part of our contribution to international diplomatic efforts towards the resolution of Israeli-Palestine conflict, we as Special Envoys appointed by President Zuma travelled to both Israel and Palestine, to convey South Africa’s grave concern over the escalating violence, the civilian displacement and the deterioration of the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip in particular and the West Bank in general.

Accordingly, in Palestine, we met with the Prime Minister Dr Rami Hamdallah-Hamdallah, the Foreign Minister Dr Raid Malki, the Secretary of Fatah’s International Relations Commission, Dr. Nabil Shaath State of Palestine to work towards an immediate and unconditional ceasefire and ultimately the resumption of comprehensive negotiations to find a peaceful and lasting solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict.

We also congratulated them on the formation of the Unity Government of the Palestinian National Authority and asked them to maintain their unity with Hamas despite the current crisis.

In Israel, we met the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Tzachi Hanegbi. We shared with him President Zuma’s concern with the situation in Gaza. We requested them to apply maximum restraint, work towards a permanent cease-fire and a solution of the conflict with Palestine.

We also met with the member of civil society Mr Mustafa Barghouti of the Council of the Palestinian National Initiative and encouraged him and the general members of the civil society to continue working towards a two-state solution.

In summary, the message we are conveying on behalf of the President is that:

a. South Africa is calling on the protagonists to the conflict to conclude an immediate and unconditional ceasefire that will allow the people of Gaza to return to their homes and rebuild their shattered lives.

b. South Africa is calling for the resumption of negotiations towards a permanent resolution to this conflict, which is a two-state solution of a viable Palestine existing side-by-side and in peace with Israel within mutually agreed and internationally recognized borders based on the 4 June 1967 lines, with East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine.

The delegation was well received and the ground was laid for further interaction with both parties.

Tomorrow we are travelling to Egypt, Qatar and Iran to interact with the governments of the above mentioned countries and Hamas.

Thank you


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