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The Brazilian Government regrets that the draft resolution on the illegality of Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, has not been adopted in the UN Security Council, in the vote this afternoon, February 18. The project was co-sponsored by 128 of the 192 UN Member States, including Brazil, and received 14 affirmative votes of the 15 Members of the Security Council.

After the voting, the Permanent Representative of Brazil to the United Nations in New York, Ambassador Maria Luiza Viotti, delivered the following explanation of vote:

“I shall now make a statement in my capacity as the Representative of Brazil

The peaceful resolution of the Question of Palestine is arguably the single-most important objective for peace and stability in the world.

For its part, the continued expansion of Israeli settlements in the Palestinian Occupied Territory came to be the most important obstacle for concrete progress in negotiations leading to a just and durable solution to this Question.

It is therefore only natural that the Security Council deals with this issue in a manner consistent with its primary responsibility for international peace and security. We welcome an increased engagement of the international community, including through the Security Council, in this matter.

The draft resolution that we had before us today restated that all Israeli settlement activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, are illegal and constitute a major obstacle to the achievement of peace on the basis of the two-State solution.

It recalled Israel obligations under the Roadmap, endorsed by UNSC Resolution 1515. It also called for the immediate resumption of credible negotiations.

Brazil cosponsored the draft resolution not only because we fully agree with its content, but also because we firmly believed it could help us achieve the two-State solution and therefore contribute to the long-term security and stability of the whole region, including Israel. In seeking to advance the peace process, we also have in mind Israel’s right to live in security, free of attacks and threats to its existence. Brazil and Israel are good friends and important partners, both bilaterally and through Mercosur.

We also cosponsored the draft resolution because its adoption would have sent some key urgent messages.

First, that continued disregard for international obligations relating to settlement construction poses a threat to peace and security in the region.

Second, that halting settlement activities should be seen not as a concession, but as the lawful conduct under international law.

Thirdly, that unilateral action shall not prevail.

Upholding international law is always in the interest of peace. The Security Council cannot settle for less.

Distinguished members of the Council,

Brazil has supported over the years the fulfillment of the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people for a cohesive, secure, democratic and economically viable State, within the borders of 1967 and with East Jerusalem as its capital, living side by side and in peace with the State of Israel.

As we strengthened our diplomatic relations with all countries in the region, we deepened our commitment to stability in the Middle East, our condemnation to all forms of terrorism and our conviction that the peace process must be accelerated.

Brazil’s recent recognition of the Palestinian State is fully consistent with our willingness to contribute to a just and lasting solution to the Question of Palestine. As explicitly indicated at the time, that decision did not mean abandoning the conviction that negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians are indispensable. On the contrary, we see it as stimulus to further negotiation. Only dialogue and peaceful coexistence with all neighbors can truly advance the Palestinian cause.

Many years of negotiating efforts produced a substantial basis upon which progress can be achieved. It is our hope that the more intensive schedule of meetings of the Quartet indicates willingness to take concrete steps that lead to an agreement on the final status issues by September.

We believe that the inclusion of more countries in the peace process, including developing countries from outside the region and with good relations with all parties, would bring fresh air to the peace process.

Brazil stands ready to participate and support in these efforts. We have been giving our contribution to the Palestinian Authority state-building efforts, including through bilateral and IBSA cooperation.

In times of unprecedented potential for change in the Middle East, it is even more urgent that progress be made on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. Now, more than ever, the brighter the perspectives for Palestinian statehood, the greater the chances that the region will advance more steadily towards stability and democracy.

Halting the construction of settlements would be a clear signal of political will to engage in serious negotiations.

To achieve an agreement, difficult political decisions will be required. Brazil is confident that the Israeli and the Palestinian leadership will display statesmanship and will be ready to make the painful concessions needed for the next generations to enjoy the benefits of peace.”

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