Higgins calls for ‘serious’ negotiations on two-state solution in Middle East

Achievement of all the world’s major goals hinges on co-operation between nations, President says in New Year message

President Michael D Higgins has called on the international community to commence “serious, crucial negotiations” to bring about a two-state solution in the Middle East following months of fighting.

In a statement on Sunday looking ahead to 2024, Mr Higgins said the achievement of all the world’s major goals hinged on co-operation between nations. “We must bring this co-operation back to the front of all of our interactions. When wars and conflicts become seemingly unending, humanity is the loser. War is not the natural condition of humanity, co-operation is. We cannot be indifferent as we watch daily the loss of life that is appearing on our screens.”

Mr Higgins said the “horrific violence and loss of life” witnessed in the deadly Hamas attack on Israel on October 7th followed by the “devastation caused by the Israeli response” in Gaza has led to a broad restatement of the need for a two-state solution.

“However, for this to have meaning there is a need to move beyond a theoretical commitment and for detailed consideration to resume of the specific details of how this can be achieved,” he said. “It is my hope that it will not be long until the international community comes together to commence the serious, crucial negotiations that will be needed in the time ahead.”


The President said some essential elements which may require co-operation include the Palestinian state having the capacity to produce its own products and release them to the market without hindrance.

Other elements for co-operation include air, sea and land sovereignty for Palestine; the position of East Jerusalem; and the sovereignty that would enable the Palestinian state to join international organisations. “It is incumbent on all nations to redouble their efforts for an immediate ceasefire, the release of all hostages, and to set about the tasks of achieving a lasting peace, one which can allow the Palestinian people to realise their rights alongside those of a secure Israel.”

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Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson is an Irish Times reporter