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Réunion des Nations Unies pour l’Asie en appui aux droits inaliénables du peuple palestinien (Kuala Lumpur, 15-16 decembre 2006) - Message du Secrétaire général - Communiqué de presse Français

Réunion des Nations Unies pour l’Asie en appui aux droits inaliénables du peuple palestinien (Kuala Lumpur, 15-16 decembre 2006) - Message du Secrétaire général - Communiqué de presse Français
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Source: Department of Public Information (DPI)
15 December 2006


Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York



Following is the text of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s message to the United Nations Asian Meeting in Support of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, as delivered by Angela Kane, Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs, in Kuala Lumpur on 15 and 16 December:

I send greetings to all the participants in this meeting organized under the auspices of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, and add sincere gratitude to the Government of Malaysia for hosting this event.

You gather at a time when the Middle East faces grim prospects.  The situation is more complex, more fragile and more dangerous than it has been for a very long time.  And mistrust between Israelis and Palestinians has reached new heights.

The Gaza Strip has become a cauldron of deepening poverty and frustration, despite the withdrawal of Israeli troops and settlements last year.  In the West Bank, too, the situation is dire.  Palestinians are deeply dismayed at settlement activity, with thousands of Israelis still living in territories occupied in 1967 and more than 1,000 more added every month.  Palestinians also see a barrier being built through their land in contravention of the Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice.  And their suffering is exacerbated by the more than 500 checkpoints that control their movement, and by the heavy presence of the Israeli Defense Forces.  Their despair only grows, as does their determination to resist it.  The Palestinian Authority, meanwhile, faces a debilitating political and financial crisis, and sees little sign that basic law and order can be brought to their streets.

Israelis, for their part, continue to live in fear of terrorism, having seen inadequate Palestinian efforts to halt rocket attacks into southern Israel.  And they are alarmed that, despite President Abbas’s clear and unambiguous stand in favour of a negotiated two-State solution, the PA Government remains, at best, ambivalent about a two-State solution and, at worst, refuses to renounce violence and rejects the basic tenets of the approach to the conflict consistently favoured by a majority of Palestinians and enshrined in the Oslo accords.

The recent ceasefire in Gaza and the tentative feelers that are being put out to explore dialogue anew are the first signs of light in what, for months, has been a dark landscape.  It is vital that these efforts are solidified and built upon with a credible political process between the parties, strongly backed by the international community.

Most Israelis genuinely believe in peace with the Palestinians -- perhaps not quite as the Palestinians envision it, but genuine nevertheless.  Most Palestinians do not seek the destruction of Israel, only the end of occupation and their own State – perhaps in a slightly larger territory than Israelis would wish to concede, but a limited territory nevertheless.  Our challenge is to convince the people on each side that these majorities exist on the other side, while showing that the spoilers and rejectionists are a distinct minority.  I believe that the fundamental aspirations of both peoples can be reconciled.

It is first and foremost the parties themselves who bear the primary responsibility for peace.  No one can make peace for them.  No peace can be imposed on them.  And no one should want peace more than they do.  At the same time, the international community cannot escape its own responsibility to use its influence to end the occupation and promote a negotiated, two-State solution.  The Quartet, for its part, needs to work harder to restore faith not only in its own seriousness and effectiveness, but also in the “Road Map”.

In that same spirit, and as I told the Security Council earlier this week, I believe the Committee itself should seek to ensure that its efforts make a positive difference.  Too often, the work of parts of the United Nations system is too easily dismissed as being reflexively biased against Israel, which, in turn, limits its ability to help the tragically suffering Palestinian people on the ground.  It hurts both Palestinians and Israelis if the United Nations is perceived as too one-sided to be allowed a significant role in the Middle East peace process.

When I started my term of office as Secretary-General in 1997, the occupation of Palestinian lands was then in its thirtieth year.  This, in itself, was a very sad state of affairs, although, at least, there had been some progress in the peace process in the four years before that.  It is with great personal sadness that I leave office with the occupation now in its fortieth year.  Let us all -- the parties themselves, countries in the region, the international community, State and non-State actors alike -- redouble our efforts to get out of the present morass, and back to a viable peace process that will respond to the region’s yearning for peace.  Please accept my best wishes for a productive meeting.

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For information media • not an official record

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