Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Dr. Kenneth Baugh, yesterday (Jan.13) outlined Jamaica's position on the Arab Israeli conflict and the political situation in Zimbabwe, which have resulted in the loss of lives and severe humanitarian crises.
Dr. Baugh, in a statement to the House of Representatives, said that Jamaica has been consistent in its efforts aimed at securing lasting peace between Israel and Palestine, based on the right of both countries to exist as separate sovereign entities.
"In this regard, the Government of Jamaica welcomes the Egyptian initiative to achieve a ceasefire and the re-opening of crossing points as well as the mediation efforts of Egypt and the League of Arab States, to achieve intra Palestinian reconciliation," he stated.
He noted that the future of both Israel and Palestine cannot be assured without comprehensive peace, based on a two-state solution and "we call for the resumption of negotiations aimed at arriving at a permanent solution to the Arab Israeli conflict".
So far, more than 900 Palestinians, including more than 250 children, have died as a result of Israeli military action. More than 4,000 persons have been wounded and thousands have been forced to flee their homes, while infrastructure has been extensively damaged. The humanitarian situation has worsened, compounding an already desperate state of affairs, as a result of the Israeli blockade of crossing into Gaza, preventing the flow of food, fuel and medicine.
Meanwhile, on the Zimbabwe situation, Dr. Baugh said that despite the power sharing agreement reached in mid-September between President Robert Mugabe and Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, the legitimacy of the Zimbabwean Government remains mired in controversy and uncertainty.
"We firmly believe that the absence of credible authoritative political leadership has contributed to the escalating socio-economic crisis in Zimbabwe," Dr. Baugh said.
"We are extremely disappointed that the mediation efforts of the Southern African Development Community have not succeeded in its declared objective of securing a Government of national unity," he added.
The Minister also stated that Jamaica has remained steadfast in its support of the Zimbabwean people. He however noted that "we are firm in the view that the situation in the Zimbabwe must be viewed in the context of the tragedy that is unfolding and the scepticism that exists regarding the legitimacy of the Government led by President Mugabe."
In addition, a Cholera outbreak has been sweeping the country since August 2008, and has so far claimed 1,500 lives.
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