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        General Assembly
6 November 1995

Official Records

United Nations
General Assembly
Fiftieth Session
50th plenary meeting
Monday, 6 November 1995, 10 a.m.
New York

President: Mr. Freitas do Amaral ................................................................. (Portugal)

The meeting was called to order at 10.30 a.m.


The President: Before we take up the item on our agenda for this morning, the General Assembly will pay tribute to the memory of the late Prime Minister of the State of Israel, Mr. Yitzhak Rabin.

As the leader of his country, Mr. Rabin, in his wisdom, chose to lead his people down the path towards lasting peace in the Middle East, and for this he has made the ultimate sacrifice.

It was only two weeks ago that the reaffirmation of Mr. Rabin's dedication to the course of peace resonated in this very Hall. Today, as he is being buried, I have the very sad duty to extend, on behalf of the General Assembly, our deepest sympathy to the Government and people of Israel and to the bereaved family in their tragic loss.

It is our fervent hope that Mr. Rabin's life will not have been sacrificed in vain and that the international community and peoples of the world will be inspired by that life to abandon war and violence and to embrace peace.

I invite representatives to stand and observe a minute of silence in tribute to the memory of the late Prime Minister of the State of Israel.

The members of the General Assembly observed a minute of silence.

The President: I now call on the representative of Brunei Darussalam, who will speak on behalf of the Asian States.

Mr. Abdul Momin (Brunei Darussalam): On behalf of the Asian Group, I have the honour to express our most profound sympathy and condolences to the family of the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and to the people of Israel.

Israel has lost an outstanding leader and a man of peace. It is sad to witness once again a man and a leader of such courage becoming a victim of the violence that we have seen for far too long in the Middle East.

I am sure that I am expressing the feelings of members of the Asian Group when I say that the sacrifice of the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin will not have been in vain. His untimely death should be a reminder to all concerned of the urgency to achieve comprehensive and lasting peace in that troubled region.

The President: I now call on the representative of South Africa, who will speak on behalf of the African States.

Mr. Jele (South Africa): The member States of the African Group have learned with deep shock and sadness of the assassination of Mr. Yitzhak Rabin, Prime Minister of Israel, over the past weekend. This criminal act, which should be condemned in the strongest terms, must surely have been committed by someone who has no interest in the general welfare of the Israeli and Palestinian peoples.

The death of Prime Minister Rabin is a great loss to the people of Israel and could threaten the peace process now under way in the Middle East. The African Group urges all the parties to the Middle East peace process not to be deterred by this tragic incident, but to draw strength from the firm belief that the legacy of Prime Minister Rabin's leadership would best be honoured by following the course set by him.

The States members of the African Group convey their condolences to the Rabin family and to the people and Government of Israel.

May his soul rest in peace.

The President: I call on the representative of Albania, who will speak on behalf of the Group of Eastern European States.

Mr. Kulla (Albania): On behalf of the members of the Group of Eastern European States, I want to express deep sorrow at the perfidious assassination of the Prime Minister of Israel, the late Yitzhak Rabin. At the same time, I wish to express our most sincere condolences to his family and to the Israeli people and Government, as well as to all the peace-loving people of the region, who saw in the personality of the late Prime Minister a decisive and crucial promoter of the peace process of paramount importance to the Middle East and the whole world.

The unexpected and outrageous loss of Prime Minister Rabin, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, constitutes a new noble sacrifice — the high price that the civilized world is paying to ensure that tolerance, good understanding and coexistence prevail over hatred, disagreement and exclusion.

The strike against Prime Minister Rabin is at the same time an attack against the will of the large gathering which, only a few minutes before the criminal act occurred, was expressing clearly the support and hope that millions of Jews and Arabs and millions of others around the world saw in him and in other pioneers of peace in that part of the world, where war has taken so many lives over several generations.

However bitter this loss is, and however hard for the long path of peace, we express again our unshaken belief that the peace process in the Middle East will continue unharmed. Contrary to the aims of those who killed him, Prime Minister Rabin, through his sacrifice, will bring new impetus to the contribution and awareness of people who work in the region to achieve the much-desired peace.

The President: I call on the representative of Bolivia, who will speak on behalf of the Latin American and Caribbean States.

Mr. Camacho Omiste (Bolivia) (interpretation from Spanish): I should like, on behalf of the delegations of the Latin American and Caribbean States, to express profound sorrow at the tragic death of the Prime Minister of Israel, Yitzhak Rabin.

The assassination of this distinguished statesman has deprived the international community of a leader committed to the cause of world peace. The circumstances of his death reveal intolerance and the persistence of tendencies opposed to the building of a society founded on the ideals of solidarity and understanding. The crime has shocked the whole world because Yitzhak Rabin incarnated the search for ways of rapprochement and reconciliation, with a view to securing imaginative and definitive solutions in the Middle East.

Therefore, the indignation and pain caused by the passing of Prime Minister Rabin commit the political will of the world to the process of transformation that he initiated, in order to bring about a lasting peace in the region and in the world at large.

The Latin American and Caribbean States extend their condolences to the family of Yitzhak Rabin and to Israel's Government and people and its Permanent Mission to the United Nations. May God give rest to the soul of this illustrious statesman and inspire political leaders to promote understanding among human beings.

The President: I call on the representative of Norway, who will speak on behalf of the Group of Western European and Other States.

Mr. Lian (Norway): Members of the Group of Western European and Other States were deeply shocked and profoundly saddened by the news of the assassination of the Prime Minister of Israel, Mr. Yitzhak Rabin.

We all condemn this despicable act of violence. Israel and the world have lost a great statesman and a visionary leader. Prime Minister Rabin showed great personal courage and determination in his search for a just and lasting peace in the Middle East. He was a main architect of the peace process, which he again praised and promoted on the last day of his life, just minutes before he was killed.

We all remember that, only a year ago, Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin received the Nobel Peace Prize for his considerable efforts and for the considerable courage that he showed in taking the peace process forward. He was awarded the Prize because he brought hope and promise to all people who have been working, openly or quietly, for peaceful evolution in the Middle East.

And now, on the day of the burial of Prime Minister Rabin, we all feel the necessity of continuing his work towards peace. That is his legacy, and that is our responsibility.

On this day our thoughts and sympathy go to his wife, Leah, to his family, to the people of Israel and to all those who had faith in Yitzhak Rabin's abilities to create peace.

The President: I call on the representative of the United States of America as the host country.

Mr. Gnehm (United States of America): A deep sadness fills our souls — a blanket that stifles our smiles, a sadness that forces us to face very starkly the troubled world in which we live and die.

The tragic news of the assassination of the Israeli Prime Minister, Yitzhak Rabin, has deeply shocked and saddened my nation. As Secretary of State Christopher said on Saturday:

Our hearts today go out to the people of Israel and to Mrs. Rabin and her family at this most difficult time.

How many times have we gathered together in this Hall to mourn those who have fallen in pursuit of peace in our world? We recall our own Secretary-General, Dag Hammarskjöld, so many decades ago, and we recall the many soldiers who have sacrificed their lives in various United Nations peace-keeping efforts. In each of our countries, small and large, the memorials to fallen peace-keepers grow longer each year.

The world indeed has lost a leader and a statesman, and it is indeed fitting for this Assembly, dedicated to the cause of peace, that we should mourn the loss of a man of peace. Israel has lost one of its finest sons. The United States has lost a strong and true friend. But, my friends, if history has taught us anything, it affirms that out of such tragic times comes a renewed determination to seize our own destinies and drive forward toward the goals of peace which Prime Minister Rabin and his partners for peace had set for themselves and us.

We will not be daunted. We will not succumb to grief. We will pledge ourselves to work with even more determination and dedication for peace in the Middle East and elsewhere in our world. With this pledge we pay tribute to Prime Minister Rabin and his vision for peace, remembering the words from The Beatitudes:

Mr. Peleg (Israel): My country very much appreciates the warm words and expressions of respect, sympathy and support which were said here this morning about Prime Minister Rabin and his commitment to peace, by you, Sir, and by the representatives of the geographical groups and the host country.

The day of 4 November 1995 is one that will live forever in the memory of Israel, its neighbours, and the international community. On that day, an assassin's bullet killed the Prime Minister of Israel, Mr. Yitzhak Rabin.

The bullet was not meant for the man himself. The bullet was an attempt to stop the courageous march towards peace for all peoples of the Middle East. In the words of Yitzhak Rabin himself, in his last speech at the peace rally in Tel Aviv:

The Government of Israel is fully committed to continuing its efforts towards reaching a comprehensive and lasting peace with all of its neighbours. It is our obligation — we in the Middle East and the international community — to make sure that Prime Minister Rabin's vision will not be lost. An assassin's bullet will not halt our efforts to achieve what Prime Minister Rabin had so boldly set out to accomplish.

In Prime Minister Rabin's speech to the General Assembly on 24 October 1995, he said:

“The road is still long. However, we are determined to continue until we have brought peace to the region, for our children and our children's children and for all the peoples of the region. This is our mission. We will fulfil it.” (Official Records of the General Assembly, Fiftieth Session, Plenary Meetings, 39th meeting, p. 26)

Let these words inspire us in our journey towards peace.


Agenda item 40

Building a peaceful and better world through sport and the Olympic Ideal


Mr. Fulci (Italy): Before making my statement, I should like to join the President and the representatives of our geographical groups in expressing the shock and profound sorrow of my country, Italy, at the tragic news of the assassination of the Prime Minister of Israel, His Excellency Yitzhak Rabin, and to renew the sincere and deep condolences of the Italian Government and people to the Government and people of Israel. Yitzhak Rabin has become a martyr of peace, for his tragic death is a loss not only for Israel but for all true lovers of peace the world over.

Our sincere hope is that the courageous march to peace in the Middle East will not be stopped by a murderer's bullet.


The Acting President (interpretation from French): I call next on the representative of France, Mr. Guy Drut, Minister for Youth and Sports.

Mr. Drut (France) (interpretation from French): We came to this Assembly today to celebrate the contribution of sports and the Olympic spirit to the ideals of peace and United Nations solidarity. The tragic death on the evening of 4 November of the Prime Minister of Israel, Mr. Yitzhak Rabin — a major architect of peace in the Middle East — has cast a pall of sadness over this day of hope and brotherhood. In the face of this crime, this injustice, our first duty is to bow our heads to the memory of Yitzhak Rabin and to associate ourselves with the bereavement of his family and of the Government and people of Israel.


The Acting President: I now call on the representative of Spain, Mr. Rafael Cortes-Elvira, Secretary of State for Sports.

Mr. Cortes-Elvira (Spain) (interpretation from Spanish): My first words are to express the sorrow of the Spanish people and to transmit our condolences to the Israeli Government and people, and to the bereaved family, on the tragic loss of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. Although his physical presence is no longer with us and his voice will be heard no more in this Hall, his legacy of peace remains. It is up to us all to see that the house of peace that he was in good measure responsible for building does not come tumbling down.


The Acting President: I now call on the representative of Monaco, His Serene Highness Crown Prince Albert of Monaco.

Crown Prince Albert (Monaco) (interpretation from French): First and foremost, I should like to address the Government and people of Israel and to express to them the profound emotion felt in the Principality of Monaco when we learned of the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. On behalf of His Serene Highness, the Sovereign Prince, on my own behalf and on behalf of all Monaco's people, I should like to convey our most sincere condolences to the people of Israel and to the bereaved family, and assure them of our deepest sympathy. The courage of this great statesman, this man of peace, has won the admiration of all. May his example and his sacrifice serve the cause of peace, not only in the Middle East but also throughout the world, by strengthening the solidarity of the just against the forces of obscurantism, extremism and barbarity, fed by hatred and contempt.


The meeting rose at 12.45 p.m.

This record contains the original text of speeches delivered in English and interpretations of speeches delivered in the other languages. Corrections should be submitted to original speeches only. They should be incorporated in a copy of the record and be sent under the signature of a member of the delegation concerned, within one month of the date of the meeting, to the Chief of the Verbatim Reporting Service, Room C-178. Corrections will be issued after the end of the session in a consolidated corrigendum.

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