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UN Passes Resolution to End Israeli-Palestinian Conflict - 2002-03-13

Spurred on by escalating violence, the U.N. Security Council worked into the night, Tuesday, to hammer out an historic resolution calling for an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. For the first time, the council voted in favor of language calling for a Palestinian state.

Resolution 13-97 passed by a margin of 14 to nothing. As drafted by the United States, the measure affirms what it calls a "vision of a region where two States, Israel and Palestine, live side by side within secure and recognized borders".

Never before has the call for a Palestinian state been so loud, or so clear. As they emerged from the chamber, council members were visibly enthusiastic at the prospect for peace the resolution embodies. Israeli Ambassador Yehuda Lancry was among them. "Today, the Security Council adopted an important resolution. The fact that the United States presented that resolution is indeed significant. To my recollection, it has been quite some time without such a positive attitude by the U.S. towards the principle of the engagement by the council in Middle Eastern affairs, and also towards dealing with concrete language in the form of a resolution. As such, this is something that we believe will help the situation on the ground, and this is something on which we can build in the future," Mr. Lancry said.

The resolution, which also calls for the immediate cessation of violence and the resumption of negotiations on a political settlement, met with only one protest. It came in the form of an abstention by the Syrian Arab Republic. Ambassador Mikhail Wehbe was unhappy with the resolution's failure to address the question of the occupied territories.