I have held a constructive meeting this afternoon with the representatives of the Islamic and Arab countries accredited in Canberra.

At this meeting I provided a letter re-affirming that there has been no change in the Australian Government’s position on the legal status of the Palestinian Territories, including East Jerusalem.

Our position is consistent with relevant UN resolutions adopted over many years, including UN Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338.

A copy of the letter is attached [PDF 38 KB]

Letter re-affirming the Australian Government's position on the legal status of the Palestinian Territories, including East Jerusalem

HE Mohamed Mael-Ainin
Ambassador
KINGDOM OF MOROCCO

Dear Excellency

I write in response to your letter of 12 June 2014, on behalf of the Heads of Mission of the Islamic and Arab countries accredited in Canberra, concerning the Australian Attorney General's statement issued on 5 June with regard to East Jerusalem.

I emphasise that there has been no change in the Australian Government's position on the legal status of the Palestinian Territories, including East Jerusalem. Our position is consistent with relevant UN resolutions on the issue, adopted over many years, starting with UN Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338. Senator Brandis' statement was about nomenclature, and was not a comment on the legal status of the Palestinian Territories.

Australia continues to be a strong supporter of a just and lasting two-state solution, with Israel and a Palestinian state existing side by side in peace and security, within internationally recognised borders. To this end, we are urging both sides to resume direct negotiations. We do not consider it helpful to engage in debates over legal issues, nor to prejudge any final status issues that are the subject of these negotiations.

Australia's longstanding commitment to contribute to the peace process in a practical way is reflected in the ongoing development assistance we provide to the Palestinian Territories. Since 2010-11, Australia has provided close to $200 million in Palestinian aid. In 2014-15, Australia will provide approximately $56.5 million in Palestinian aid - a three percent increase compared to 2013-14.

I look forward to continuing to work with you to strengthen Australia's relations with Morocco, as well as with all other Islamic and Arab countries.

Yours sincerely
Julie Bishop

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