Quartet should not seize not squander chance for peace


Richard Burden, MP for Birmingham Northfield and Chair of the Britain-Palestine All Party Parliamentary Group today (9 February 07) welcomed the announcement that a Saudi brokered accord has been signed between Fateh and Hamas to form a national unity government.

The agreement has provided hope and resolve among the Palestinian people to draw back from factional violence and focus on finding a political solution to the current impasse. He expressed the paramount concern that this development be embraced by the Quartet and international community as an opportunity to set negotiations back on track, and to remove the current barriers which have paralysed not only the new Palestinian government but the Palestinian economy as a whole. Mr Burden, who visited the region at the end of January, is also a Member of the International Development Select Committee which published a report last week highlighting the terrible humanitarian impact that the boycott of the PA has caused.

Mr Burden said today:

“It is important that the Quartet demonstrates flexibility and uses the opportunity of this agreement to move the peace process forward. The Quartet will not help to achieve that if it simply repeats demands on the Palestinians to sign up to particular form of words before it even talks to them.“The international community also needs to show far more even handedness than it has so far. Both Israel and the Palestinians have responsibilities under existing agreements. Israel has the responsibility to stop expanding its settlements in the West Bank in violation of international law. It has failed to do so in practice even though it claims to accept the Road Map in theory.“The international community needs to be as assertive in reminding Israel that actions speak louder than words as it is in the demands it makes on the Palestinians.”

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Richard Burden

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I was Labour Member of Parliament for Birmingham Northfield between 1992 and 2019 and a former Shadow Transport Minister. I now chair Healthwatch in Birmingham and Solihull, and the West Midlands Board of Remembering Srebrenica. I also work as a public affairs consultant. I am an effective community advocate and stakeholder alliance builder with a passion for human rights. I am a trustee of the Balfour Project charity and of Citizens Advice Birmingham, and a former Chair of Medical Aid for Palestinians.

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You can reach me by email at richard@richardburden.com or use the form on the Contact page to send me a message.