Swedish envoy urges int'l community to resolve status of Jerusalem
15 May 2018, 23:21
A Swedish envoy on Tuesday called upon the international community to make efforts to resolve the status of Jerusalem as the future capital of Israel and Palestine.
Speaking at a UN Security Council meeting on "the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question," Swedish UN Ambassador Olof Skoog said that "a way must be found through negotiations to resolve the status of Jerusalem as the future capital of both states, in line with relevant UN resolutions."
"The position of Sweden and the whole European Union on the status of Jerusalem as a final status issue is clear and will not change. All three Abrahamic religions Judaism, Islam and Christianity, have strong bonds to Jerusalem that must be preserved," he said.
Speaking of the current situation in Gaza, Skoog said that "we are appalled by the violence that we have witnessed in Gaza since March 30, and in particular the sharp escalation yesterday (Monday). The number killed was the highest in a single day since the beginning of the protests. Indeed, it was the bloodiest day since the last conflict in Gaza in 2014."
Skoog urged Israel to "fully respect the right to peaceful protest, protect civilians and ensure that the use of force, and other measures taken, are strictly proportional."
"Lethal use of force should be exercised with maximum restraint, and only as a last resort," he said.
"We urge all parties to act with the utmost restraint to avoid further loss of life and to protect civilians, particularly children. This means never making children the target of violence as well as not putting children in harm's way or encouraging them to participate in violence," he added.
All parties must take immediate steps to de-escalate and this Council has a responsibility to actively promote such efforts, he said.
At the request of Kuwait, a public briefing of the Security Council was convened under the agenda item "the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question." The meeting was being held in response to Monday's violence in Gaza, which had led to the deaths of more than 50 Palestinians at the hands of Israeli security forces.