Outgoing U.N. envoy: Months left to avoid a one-state reality


(JTA) — Robert Serry, the United Nations’ outgoing special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, said Israel and the Palestinian territories have months to avoid a one-state reality.

Serry, a Dutch diplomat who has served in his post for 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 is quoted by the news site Ynet as saying while addressing a crowd of Israelis. “I believe you have a partner in Ramallah. You must formulate a strategy regarding the topic of Gaza.”

Also Thursday, Nickolay Mladenov of Bulgaria was appointed to succeed Serry by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. Mladenov, currently the U.N. special representative to Iraq, has been Bulgaria’s foreign minister and minister of defense, and has worked at the World Bank, U.N. 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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