Ambassador Jonathan Curr
Israel and New Zealand have resolved a diplomatic dispute that had prevented New Zealand's new ambassador from taking up his post for more than half a year.
Israel last September prevented Ambassador Jonathan Curr from presenting his credentials after learning that he would also serve as New Zealand's envoy to the Palestinians.
At the time, Israel said it had a "well-known policy" of not accrediting diplomats who are also accredited to the Palestinian Authority.
New Zealand's foreign ministry announced in February that it had appointed a separate envoy to the Palestinians, effectively ending the spat. President Reuven Rivlin's office says Curr is scheduled to present his credentials on Thursday.
New Zealand is now a new member of the UN Security Council member and is working on a draft resolution to revive long-stalled peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.
France has begun consultations on a text that would outline the parameters of an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal, but Ambassador Jim McLay said that New Zealand’s friendship with Israel and the Palestinians means it could make a contribution.
“New Zealand wants this Security Council to focus on a practical outcome - and we have been working on a text that might serve the purpose of getting negotiations started,” said McLay.
The ambassador emphasized that the timing was right to move forward, after the Israeli elections and before the United States becomes embroiled in the campaign for the presidency in 2016.
McLay added that New Zealand was open to supporting the French initiative “if it has a chance of succeeding,” but he made clear that action was needed soon.
The move from New Zealand, which was elected as one of the 10 non-permanent members last year, reflected growing impatience within the council over the failure to agree on a UN approach for the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
The Security Council in December rejected a resolution that would have set a two-year timetable to achieve an Israeli-Palestinian settlement paving the way to a Palestinian state.
The United States voted against the resolution, but did not resort to its veto power after the measure failed to garner the required nine votes for adoption.
Australia also voted against the resolution, while Britain, Lithuania, Nigeria, Rwanda and South Korea abstained following a round of telephone calls from US Secretary of State John Kerry.
AFP contributed to this report