I wish to update the House on the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.
On 30 July 2013 the United States secured the resumption of direct talks between Israeli and Palestinian negotiators, with the goal of achieving a just and peaceful resolution of the middle east peace process. Over the past nine months, the UK Government have strongly supported the tireless efforts of US Secretary of State Kerry and his team as they have sought to bridge the gaps between the parties. His dedication to the pursuit of peace has been remarkable and I pay tribute to him.
It is disappointing that, despite those efforts, greater progress has not been made by the parties to date in the talks. It is now for the Israeli and Palestinian leaders to decide whether they want to seize or squander this opportunity for peace. We urge the parties to use the coming weeks to find the common ground and political strength needed to resume this process, and encourage other countries to maintain support for that objective.
A negotiated two-state agreement remains the only way to resolve the conflict once and for all. The parameters are clear: two states, based on 1967 borders with agreed land swaps, Jerusalem as a shared capital, a just, fair and agreed settlement for refugees, and Gaza as an integral part of the Palestinian state. The need and international support for such an agreement is as great as ever. As my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister highlighted during his recent visit to the region, the benefits of peace will be immeasurable, for all future generations, Israelis and Palestinians alike. But securing that two-state solution is getting harder, not easier. I urge the leaders of both sides to demonstrate the courage, vision and urgency necessary.
The UK Government remain fully committed to supporting efforts for peace. The Minister of State with responsibility for the middle east and North Africa will visit the region in the near future.