G20 Says Two-State Solution Only Answer to Israel-Palestinian Conflict

EUTERS/Pilar Olivares
People take part in a pro-Palestinian demonstration, amid a meeting of foreign ministers as part of Brazil’s presidency of the G20, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil February 22, 2024.

RIO DE JANEIRO, Feb 22 (Reuters) – Foreign ministers at the G20 group of nations meeting in Brazil were nearly unanimous in their support for a two-state solution as the only path to peace in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Brazilian minister hosting the event said on Thursday.

“There was virtual unanimity in the two-state solution as the only solution to the conflict,” Brazil’s foreign minister, Mauro Vieira, said at the close of the two-day meeting.

Vieira said all members of the group of the world’s largest economies highlighted concerns about the war in Gaza and the risk of the conflict spreading in the Middle East.

There were calls for a ceasefire and access to Gaza for humanitarian aid, while “many” countries criticized Israel’s military offensive in Rafah, he said.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his right-wing coalition government largely reject the establishment of a Palestinian state. Still, Washington, Israel’s main ally, maintains that the two-state solution is the only feasible way to bring lasting peace to the region, but has rebuffed calls by some countries, including Brazil, for an immediate ceasefire.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he found “commonality” with G20 members on Gaza, despite the U.S. vetoing a U.N. Security Council resolution on the conflict this week for the third time, reflecting growing international frustration with U.S. support for Israel.

At a news conference after the G20 meeting, Blinken said ending the conflict was a common goal and the way to achieve that was through an agreement the U.S. is helping to broker between Israel and Hamas on the release of hostages.

“There may be differences over tactics, and there may be differences over this Security Council resolution, but we’re trying to focus on actually getting results,” Blinken said.

The meeting, which set the agenda for the G20 group presided over by Brazil this year, discussed current tensions in the world, mainly focused on the fighting in Gaza and Ukraine.

European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said earlier that there was consensus on the need for a two-state solution in Israel, supported by every speaker who addressed the conflict.

“Everybody here, everybody, I haven’t heard anyone against it. There was a strong request for a two-state solution,” Borrell told reporters. “It is consensus among us.

“There is not going to be peace … not going to be sustainable security for Israel unless the Palestinians have a clear political prospect to build their own state,” he said.

Borrell, EU minister for foreign affairs, said the crisis in Gaza extends to the West Bank, which is “absolutely boiling” as Israeli settlers are “attacking Palestinian civilians.”

On Ukraine, Borrell said he saw no sign of Russia accepting a ceasefire. “Putin wants to continue this war,” he said, speaking of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Western foreign ministers from the G20 on Wednesday attacked Russia for its invasion of Ukraine as Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov listened during the meeting, diplomats said.

Blinken said, “I think if you were in that room, as Foreign Minister Lavrov was, you heard a very strong chorus … about the imperative of ending the Russian aggression.”

Vieira said all G20 countries backed the priorities set by Brazil for the group in 2024: reform of the United Nations and other multilateral organizations, fighting climate change, and reducing hunger and poverty in the world.