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        General Assembly
20 December 1991


Forty-sixth session
Official Records

43rd meeting
held on
Tuesday, 26 November 1991
at 3.45 p.m.
New York


Chairman: Mr. MROZIEWICZ (Poland)


- General debate, consideration of and action on draft resolutions on international security agenda items (continued)

The meeting was called to order at 4.10 p.m.
AGENDA ITEMS 67 AND 68 (continued)


... my country unreservedly supports the creation of nuclear-weapon-free zones and zones free from all types of weapons of mass destruction, and it reacts positively to any action or initiative, on whatever scale, designed to reduce regional and international tensions; and calls for crimes and conflicts to be resolved by peaceful means.

Because of the Arab, African and Mediterranean dimensions in which Tunisia exists, my country is firmly convinced that in addition to the need to introduce and encourage disarmament initiatives in our region, it is also of prime importance to solve the conflicts that for decades now have plunged the region into an atmosphere of tension, threatening peace and international security several times in the course of the turbulent history of the region.

We firmly hope that the Madrid peace conference, in which Tunisia took part as an observer through the intermediary of the Secretary-General of the Arab Maghreb Union, will end without further delay in a just and lasting solution to the Palestine question, so that the Palestinian people can at last win back its legitimate rights under the principles of international law, so that Lebanon can live in peace, and so that the Syrian Arab Republic can regain its sovereignty over the Golan region. Only when these conditions have been fulfilled and these objectives are attained will the peoples of the region be able to live in peace in harmony and understanding an a just and equitable basis.

Regional security is closely linked to universal peace. This link should make all States, large or small, assume greater responsibility for the future of our world, where interdependence has become the cornerstone of international relations and a feature of the world order to which we all aspire.

Because of this conviction, my delegation cannot stress too much the idea that the Mediterranean region remains, along with other regions of the world, one of the keys to international security. A semi-enclosed sea, a basin linking Africa, Europe and the Middle East, in the many thousand years of its history it has seen the birth and rise of great civilizations and has become the legacy of each and every one of us.

The future of the Mediterranean and the prospects for making it a lake of peace, understanding and cooperation have always been a facet of the aspirations to civilization of my country and of its peaceful policy. This political guideline has brought Tunisia and the other countries of the Arab Maghreb Union into positive and fruitful dialogue with the European countries an the northern shores of the Mediterranean, with a view to providing even greater security for this lake and making it a common denominator for the peaceful aspirations of the countries on both its northern and its southern shores.

Today we are trying, through the political, economic, social and human dynamic that has sprung up among the countries along both shores of the Mediterranean, and through the progress so far achieved, to illustrate the enormous prospects for security and economic and cultural cooperation at a regional level, to be gained from gradually eliminating the economic and developmental disparities among the Mediterranean peoples,


The General Assembly has another important role to play - an important role in addition to the building of consensus in respect of individual issues. This concerns the need to ensure that the same principles inspire equally the international community's approaches to all issues that threaten peace and security.

Unfortunately, there are many situations - they are to be found in most regions of the world - that threaten peace and security and challenge and test the readiness and capacity of the international community to search for just and lasting solutions. Perhaps the greatest challenge lies in the long-festering difficulties of the Middle East. The international community has agonized interminably over the problem - in particular, its core issue: the question of Palestine.

The last few months have seen an intensification of the efforts to launch a peace process in the Middle East. These efforts culminated in the opening of the peace conference in Madrid - a conference that takes such of its inspiration from the relevant Security Council resolutions, especially resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973), as well as from the General Assembly's proposals for the International Peace Conference on the Middle East. A resolution embodying those proposals was adopted by the Assembly at its thirty-first session, and similar resolutions were adopted annually thereafter.

Malta welcome and supports the process that was launched in Madrid. We hope that, in spite of the many difficulties that lie ahead, all the parties will persevere - will stick to the path of dialogue and peace - and display the spirit of understanding and compromise that is indispensable if there is to be a just and lasting solution to the problem.

We see in the peace process that was launched in Madrid many of the new and positive elements that now characterize the approach to issues of peace and security - the absence of global strategic considerations that magnify and compound problems of a regional nature; the readiness of the international community to participate with the parties directly involved and to assist them in their search for just and lasting solutions; the collective determination to seek such solutions through peaceful dialogue rather than through resort to the use of arms.

In the case of other problems of a regional nature this approach is achieving positive results. This is especially so in the case of Cambodia, but it is evident in Afghanistan, Cyprus, Western Sahara, Central America and various parts of Africa also.

One significant characteristic of the new approach is the increasingly important role of regional participants in the initiatives aimed at securing solutions to regional problems. We see this tendency also in the region of the Mediterranean, where there has never been any lack of problems that, though of a regional nature, have serious and far-reaching implications for European and, indeed, for global peace and security.

The particular relevance of Mediterranean problems to the wider issues of global peace and security arises from the fact that the region lies on the axis of what used to be the East-West divide and what continues to be the North-South divide.


As an unarmed country in the centre of the Mediterranean - a country whose security is directly affected by the process of regional peace and the fostering of good-neighbourliness - Malta welcomes and encourages these developments. Like our regional neighbours, we are aware that the fundamental problems of our region have as much to do with the human dimension as with the military dimension.

The marked social, cultural and economic diversity that has traditionally characterised life along the shores of our region has historically served both an a unifying and a dividing factor. It is for this reason that even in their division, Mediterranean peoples can still find elements that bring them together. In this spirit, and in the light of its strategic geopolitical situation, Malta has been a meeting-place for Mediterranean peoples and cultures and seeks to make its contribution to the promotion of cooperation and understanding in our region.


The varied initiatives that the countries in the Mediterranean are taking to promote regional cooperation are in themselves a reflection of the awareness that in the Mediterranean, as in other regions, the responsibility for enhancing regional security lies primarily with the regional States themselves.

There is, nevertheless, also a clear awareness of the threat to international peace and security posed by many of the problems they face. For this reason, the involvement of the wider international community, in particular, through the United Nations, is required.

This is evidently the case with respect not only to such long-standing problems as that of the Middle East, the question of Cyprus or the question of Western Sahara, where the mediating and peace-making role of the United Nations is well recognized and deeply appreciated; ...

The Mediterranean region's strategic position is far more important than that of many other regions in the world. The Mediterranean Sea links the world's three largest continents and connects them with the world's other continents. Furthermore, it in an important artery of navigation, aviation and international trades

However, this excellent position has made the region a coveted prize for many competing and clashing forces which have vied with one another in trying to impose their influence and dominion on the region. The situation in our region, therefore, has become a rather special one in comparison to that of other regions of the world. Competition and conflict over the region have continued unabated to this day, in many shapes and forms. There are foreign navies and foreign military bases in some parts of the regions. The presence of those navies and bases threatens the security and stability of the States of the region and surrounding States, increases tension and creates instability in the region, thus affecting adversely international peace and security.

In addition, the Israelis continue to acquire and develop nuclear capabilities and delivery systems through their condemned collaboration with the abhorrent regime in South Africa. This poses a real threat, not only to the peoples and countries of the Mediterranean region, but also to large parts of the three continents that are linked by the Mediterranean Sea. It also obstructs international efforts to promote cooperation and understanding in the region and the efforts aimed at nuclear disarmament and the creation of nuclear-weapon-free-zone in the Mediterranean.

The situation in further aggravated by the Israelis' use of the Mediterranean as a test area for their medium-range missiles, which have the capability of delivering their nuclear warheads to their targets in the region. This also threatens the security of regional States: one at those missiles fell close to the Libyan coast on 14 June 1986.

It is high time the international community woke up and took all the measures necessary to put an end to all forms of collaboration with Israel, particularly by some of the major nuclear States. The Israelis must be forced to abide by General Assembly resolutions, and Security Council resolution 487 (1981) which call for subjecting all installations to the safeguards regime of the International Atomic Energy Agency. The Israelis must also be forced to acquiesce in all initiatives aimed at making the Mediterranean region a nuclear-free zone and a region of peace and tranquillity through accession to the regime of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear weapons.

Furthermore, denial of the Palestinian people's legitimate rights, including the right to self-determination, and the establishment of its national State, together with other problems are fundamental obstacles that prevent the establishment of security, cooperation and peace in the Mediterranean region.

The presence of large foreign navies in the Mediterranean Sea, together with the existence in the region of foreign arsenals, bases and support facilities, as well as agreements of strategic cooperation threaten the peace and security of the Mediterranean. Military manoeuvres which stem from military designs or result from military agreements threaten the peace, security and stability of the States of the region, increase tension and force States to defend themselves at the expense of their development budgets. Those navies and bases have been used in many instances in threatening the peoples of our region and other neighbouring regions and in committing acts of provocation as well as direct and indirect acts of aggression against those peoples.


Security in a particular region can rarely be seen in the limited context of its own geography. This principle applies to the Mediterranean and its proximity to Europe and the Middle East. The link between security in Europe and the Mediterranean, for example, was recognized in the Helsinki Final Act of 1975 and in the various CSCE follow-up meetings.


The Republic of Cyprus has on previous occasions joined other Mediterranean countries in calling for the establishment amongst the qualifying States of a conference on security and cooperation in the Mediterranean. Such a conference will be particularly important to the process of promoting and enhancing security and cooperation in the region. We welcome therefore the fact that support for a conference on security and cooperation in the Mediterranean is embraced by many countries of the region, and that initiatives and efforts for greater cooperation are being undertaken.

I would wish to take this opportunity to reiterate the commitment of the Government of the Republic of Cyprus to the promotion of the Mediterranean region an a zone of security, peace and cooperation, free from conflict and confrontation. My delegation wishes to emphasize the imperative need - as stated in paragraph 8 of resolution 45/79, entitled "Security and Cooperation in the Mediterranean Region" - for the
That resolution was adopted without a vote.

The meeting rose at 5.45 p.m.

This record is subject to correction. Corrections should be sent under the signature of a member of the delegation concerned within one week of the date of the publication to the Chief of the Official Records Editing Section, Room DC2-750, 2 United Nations Plaza, and incorporated in a copy of the record.

Corrections will be issued after the end of the session, in a separate corrigendum for each Committee.

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