Speaking in the House of Commons on Tuesday Mike Gapes MP pressed Foreign Secretary David Miliband about the prospects for a Middle East settlement. Here is what he said.
Mike Gapes (Ilford, South) (Lab/Co-op): On the middle east peace process, does the Foreign Secretary agree that there is a need not just for a grudging statement from the Israeli Prime Minister about a two-state situation, but for concrete measures that will make an agreement possible, and that Israel therefore needs to stop—totally stop—the expansion and enlargement of the settlements? Will the Government hold urgent discussions in the near future with the United States as to a way forward, to exert the maximum possible diplomatic pressure to get a solution to this matter?
The Foreign secretary replied as follows.
David Miliband: As my hon. Friend knows, it is certainly the position of the UK Government that settlement activity needs to be frozen, including natural growth, which is, of course, a commitment of the road map. In respect of engagement with the United States, I spoke yesterday to Secretary Clinton and former Senator Mitchell, and I think that the US role will be absolutely critical. However, I would also say that it is not just a matter of applying “pressure”; I think that the European support for Palestinian institutions is going to be important, and I also believe that there are responsibilities on the Arab states to think through how they will achieve the goals of the Arab peace initiative and how they will operationalise the very important vision set out in that. The EU can play a role in that regard, too.
posted 20 June 2009