UN chief backs two-state solution after US ditches support

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UNITED NATIONS, Feb 16 (APP): United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres has reaffirmed his support to a so-called two-state solution to the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict, saying there is “no alternative” to that option.
“There was a complete agreement” that a resolution of the conflict needs the “two state-solution and that everything must be done to preserve that possibility,” Guterres said after meeting Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi in Cairo on Wednesday, according a UN spokesman.
For decades, successive US administrations have supported the so-called two-state solution, under which a Palestinian state would be formed.
However, the White House said on Tuesday that Washington would not insist on that option as the only solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
“A two-state solution that doesn’t bring peace is not a goal…
Peace is the goal, whether it comes in the form of a two-state solution, if that’s what the parties want, or something else,” an unnamed White House official said.
The comments marked a significant shift in the US foreign policy on the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
In response, Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Secretary General
Saeb Erekat denounced attempts on behalf of Israel “to bury the two-state solution and eliminate the idea of the State of Palestine.”
“Those who believe that they can undermine the two-state solution and
replace it with what I call one state, two systems – maintaining the status quo now, are apartheid – I don’t think in the 21st century they will get away with it,” he said.
Separately on Wednesday, French Ambassador to the UN Francois Delattre described his country’s commitment to the two-state solution as “stronger than ever.”
Referring to the Middle East Peace Conference held in Paris last month,
he emphasized that the summit had reaffirmed support for a settlement that would see the creation of a Palestinian state.
Palestinians are seeking to create an independent state in the
territories of the West Bank, East Jerusalem al-Quds and the Gaza Strip, with East al-Quds as its capital.
In November 2012, the UN General Assembly voted to upgrade Palestine’s status from “non-member observer entity” to “non-member observer state” despite strong opposition from Israel.
Palestine’s flag was also hoisted for the first time at the UN
headquarters in New York in September 2015.