Security Council Welcomes Opening Of Rafah Crossing
New York, Nov 30 2005
The Security Council today welcomed the successful opening of the Rafah Crossing between Gaza and Egypt last Friday as
an important step forward, following the mid-November agreement on movement and access between the Government of Israel
and the Palestinian Authority.
In a presidential statement
read by the Council President for November, Russian Permanent Representative Andrey Denisov, the Council commended the
efforts of the diplomatic Quartet – the United Nations, United States, Russian Federation and European Union (EU) – its
Special Envoy, James Wolfensohn, and his team.
It also commended Egypt's contribution to the agreement and expressed its strong appreciation to the EU for assuming the
role of third-party monitor at the Crossing.
In that connection, the Council called on the parties to take immediate action to implement the terms of the Agreement
on Movement and Access and the Agreed Principles for the Rafah Crossing, according to their timelines.
It also called for renewed parallel action by the Government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority on their
obligations under the Quartet's Road Map to ensure continued progress towards the creation of a viable, democratic,
sovereign and contiguous Palestine living side by side with Israel in peace and security.
Earlier in the day, the Council heard a briefing by UN Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Ibrahim Gambari who
recently returned from a visit, along with Secretary-General Kofi Annan, to Iraq, Lebanon, Israel and the occupied
"I return from the region hopeful about the future, but with a renewed appreciation for the immense challenges it
faces," he told the 15-member Council.
Among these challenges, Mr. Gambari listed the extent to which the barrier, checkpoints and Israeli settlements
dominated the West Bank landscape; the dire economic and social situation of many people in Gaza and the West Bank; the
weakness of the rule of law in the areas under Palestinian control; the genuine insecurity and fear that Israelis faced
on a daily basis; and the border between Israel and Lebanon, always tense, recently volatile, where the Lebanese
Government had yet to assert its full control.
Laying out the six aspects of this month's Agreement on Movement and Access between the Israeli Government and the
Palestinian Authority, he said that, for the first time in their history, Palestinians had assumed control of part of
their border, at the Rafah crossing.
The Agreement envisaged an unprecedented third-party role for the EU, an enhanced contribution by the U.S. Security
Coordinator, support from the Quartet Special Envoy James Wolfensohn and the continued close involvement of the UN and
the World Bank.
Its full implementation was a vital first step towards Palestinian economic recovery, which also required strengthened
Palestinian institutions and economic management, he said.
He noted the context created by the fragile security situation and the continued violence in the reporting period since
the last briefing on 20 October, the combination of Israeli settlement activity and barrier construction creating "new
and significant" facts on the ground in the West Bank, the further rounds of Palestinian municipal elections in
December, Palestinian legislative elections scheduled for next January and Israeli elections scheduled for the end of
Lebanon was also at a critical stage in its history and faced a number of important challenges, which should be met
through a process led by the Lebanese and supported by the UN and the international community, as necessary, Mr. Gambari