United Nations, Jan 16: Failure of the UN Security Council to achieve the objective of a peaceful solution to the Israeli-Palestine conflict despite holding regular debates on the long-standing issue has brought into question its effectiveness, India's top envoy here said.
"The effectiveness of the Council has therefore been brought into question," Mukerji said in the open debate on the situation in the Middle East yesterday.
Reiterating India's support to the amicable resolution of the long-standing issue, he said India is particularly worried that last year saw a downward trend in the peace process.
"Efforts for serious negotiations between the parties were inconclusive. In addition, we were faced with an unfortunate situation of resumption of the tragic and escalated conflict in Gaza which resulted in a large number of civilian casualties and heavy damage to property," he said.
In recent weeks, Israeli and Palestinian sides have experienced a worsening of relations amid a series of unilateral moves which have only served to deepen tensions. Mukerji said India remains firmly convinced that dialogue remains the only viable option that can effectively address the issue.
"We remain hopeful that the current ceasefire will be sustained and both sides will resume the peace process soon, for a comprehensive resolution of the Palestinian issue."
India also expressed deep concern about the tensions in East Jerusalem as well as over the activities of radicalised and extremist groups in the northern parts of Iraq and Syria.
"The imperative need is for urgent de-escalation, for restraint, for avoidance of provocation and for a return to the peace process. Diplomacy and statesmanship have to prevail over hatred and violence; there is no other road to a lasting peace," Mukerji said.
He said extremist groups in Iraq and Syria are leading to dangerous exacerbation of sectarian and extremist tensions, critically impacting on the peace and stability of the region.
Noting that proscribed terrorist groups are targeted UN peacekeepers, Mukerji said efforts must be taken by all parties and stakeholders in the region to curb the trend.
"Member states must comply with Security Council resolutions that proscribe terrorist groups operating in this region. The early and effective prosecution of such groups is essential," he said.
"We believe that the consolidation of political processes and solutions while building durable state institutions will be the most effective way of addressing such extremism and radicalism in the region," he added.
Reiterating India's support for a Syrian-led, comprehensive political solution to the ongoing crisis, he urged all parties to demonstrate the requisite political will, exercise restraint and commit to seeking common ground in accommodating their differences.