UN ex-envoy: Months left to avoid a one-state reality

Outgoing special coordinator for Mideast peace process says if settlement building not restrained, Oslo understandings will end

Robert Serry, the United Nation’s outgoing special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, said Israel and the Palestinian territories have only months to avoid a one-state reality.

Serry, a Dutch diplomat who has served in his post for the past seven years, made the statement during a farewell speech he delivered at the Netanya Academic College on Thursday.

“If we do not advance matters in the coming months, we will reach despair and a reality of one state,” Serry was quoted by the news site Ynet as saying. “I believe you have a partner in Ramallah. You must formulate a strategy regarding the topic of Gaza.”

Also on Thursday, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appointed Nickolay Mladenov of Bulgaria to replace Serry. Mladenov, currently the UN special representative to Iraq, has been Bulgaria’s foreign minister and minister of defense and has worked at the World Bank, UN spokesman Farhan Haq told reporters.

In his speech, Serry also warned that settlement expansion may mean Israel will no longer be able to depend on security cooperation by Palestinian police in the West Bank.

“The Palestinian Authority is in a very fragile state,” he said. “If you do not restrain the growth of settlement building, the Oslo process will end and with it the security coordination.”

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