.- Archbishop Celestino Migliore, the apostolic nuncio heading the Holy See's Permanent Observer mission to the United Nations, endorsed a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in a Thursday address to the UN refugee agency.
"My delegation remains convinced that the two-state solution has the best chance to settle the crisis," he said.
Speaking to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, Archbishop Migliore urged all parties to the conflict to seek peace. He noted that the conflict is one of the leading causes of instability in the Middle East and sought to address the fundamental questions plaguing Israeli-Palestinian relations.
"At the heart of the matter remains the problem of injustice," he said. Decrying the endless postponement of peaceful resolution, he condemned refusals to negotiate and compromise.
"Whether such a mindset is deliberate or not does not alter the reality on the ground, namely, innocent people and entire families on all sides continue to suffer terribly," the archbishop said.
However, Archbishop Migliore recommended that Israelis, Palestinians, and their neighbors should play the largest role in settling the conflict, saying "Bringing this solution to reality is not the primary responsibility of the Quartet [the United Nations, the United States, Europe and Russia], but of the parties directly concerned and the neighboring countries who have immediate interests in the whole question."
His speech emphasized that governmental authorities were not the only agents capable of resolving the conflict. The people themselves should work for peace. "We appeal not only to authorities, but to the entire Israeli, Palestinian and neighbouring peoples," the archbishop said
Archbishop Migliore reminded the agency that religion had a serious role to play in peacemaking, stating "my delegation remains convinced that the different religious confessions in the Holy Land can make a significant contribution to resolving the conflict."
Finally, Archbishop Migliore underlined the importance of the Holy City of Jerusalem to a two-state solution. Quoting a UN General Assembly Resolution of April 25, 1997, he declared that the Holy See renews its support for "internationally guaranteed provisions to ensure the City of Jerusalem the freedom of religion and of conscience of its inhabitants, as well as permanent, free and unhindered access to the Holy Places by the faithful of all religions and nationalities.”