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        General Assembly
16 September 2000

Official Records
General Assembly
Fifty-fifth session
18th plenary meeting
Saturday, 16 September 2000, 10 a.m.
New York

President: Mr. Holkeri............................(Finland)

The meeting was called to order at 10.00 a.m.

Agenda item 9 (continued)

General debate

Address by The Honourable Laisenia Qarase, Prime Minister and Minister for National Reconciliation and Unity of the Republic of Fiji

Mr. Laisenia Qarase, Prime Minister and Minister for National Reconciliation and Unity of the Republic of Fiji was escorted to the rostrum.

The President: I have great pleasure in the welcoming the Prime Minister and Minister for National Reconciliation, The Honourable Laisenia Qarase, and inviting him to address the Assembly.

Mr. Qarase (Fiji): ...

Fiji commends and supports the Brahimi report (A/55/305) on peacekeeping. It is a timely and thoughtful report which, if implemented, will considerably enhance the ability of the United Nations to carry out its peacekeeping tasks. With regard to Fiji’s continuing participation in United Nations peacekeeping activities, I am pleased to confirm our positive response to the Secretary-General’s request for a further increase in our troops serving in the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon. In that connection, I commend the efforts of all those involved in the Middle East peace process. Fiji earnestly hopes that the negotiations will be successful in resolving longstanding differences and bring about long-term peace in the region.

Mr. Kavan (Czech Republic): ...


The Czech Republic is monitoring the situation in the Middle East closely, as a traditional and active supporter of the peace process established by Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973) and the principle of land for peace. The Czech Republic resolutely opposes the exploitation of the developments that took place after the Camp David summit to attack the peace process as a whole as well as the positive results achieved so far in negotiations between Israel and the Palestine National Council (PNC). The Czech Republic also emphatically rejects the misuse of this situation to carry out acts of violence, which can only result in unnecessary suffering and more victims. This is not the way to achieve the much-desired peace and stability in the Middle East. The Czech Republic supports the establishment of an independent Palestine, but it would prefer the emergence of such a state in an atmosphere of general support enjoying the consensus of all those involved. That is why we believe that the PNC’s postponement of this step by two months creates a certain space for further deliberations. We wish them to be fruitful and successful in their outcome, although we are fully aware that even with good political will on both sides, the issues are thorny and laden with emotions and the burdens of history.


Mr. Cem (Turkey): ...


The Middle East peace process has reached a crucial phase. Turkey has always underlined the importance of a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement on the basis of international legitimacy and within the framework of Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973) and of the principle of land for peace.

The Palestinian issue lies at the core of the Arab-Israeli conflict. On the other hand, it has again been proven during the course of negotiations that Al-Quds is the decisive element for peace between Palestinians and Israelis. Progress was made at the Camp David summit, as it was the first occasion at which there was frank discussion of all issues, including the most sensitive. We are heartened to witness the willingness of both sides to continue negotiations and to explore all possibilities. We encourage the parties to remain engaged in order not to waste this historic opportunity.

Turkey is endowed with centuries of experience regarding the area, the wider region and its problems. We also have deep historical, moral and cultural ties with the peoples of the region. Turkey has good relations with the Israeli and the Palestinian parties alike and enjoys their trust. This prompted the parties to solicit our contributions in recent weeks to facilitating a better understanding and greater confidence between them. Turkey will continue these efforts as long as we all think them useful.

I would also like to underline that Israel’s withdrawal from southern Lebanon, within the framework of Security Council resolution 425 (1978), was a step in the right direction. We also hope that negotiations on the Israeli-Syrian and the Israeli-Lebanese tracks will resume soon and reach a mutually acceptable solution.


Mr. Yousef Bin Al-Alawi Bin Abdullah (Oman) (spoke in Arabic): ...

The tripartite Camp David summit on the peace process in the Middle East was an extremely significant political step and a display of unique courage by the summit participants. The summit imposed upon itself the task of discussing and negotiating the fundamental issues of a final settlement in an unprecedented and distinguished manner, particularly with regard to the future of Al-Quds Al-Sharif. We express our admiration for, and appreciation of, the historic role and great efforts made by the President of the United States, Bill Clinton. Despite the fact that the summit did not produce a final agreement between Palestine and Israel, it nevertheless opened the door for dialogue on the most complex issues. Significant progress has been achieved on those issues, and the summit established an important understanding of the true scope of peace and the spiritual and emotional sentiments attached to it. It is now vital to conclude an agreement that will lay the cornerstone for lasting peace.

In our view, there has been tangible and clear progress regarding the positions and claims of each party as well as their capability to complete the negotiations. We are confident that the continuation of negotiations and contacts between Palestinians and Israelis, on all levels, is the proper and responsible way to reach the desired objective of establishing a just, comprehensive and lasting peace. We look forward with confidence to a second round of negotiations between the Palestinians and the Israelis, with the continued sponsorship of the United States. Time has bestowed upon all parties a historic opportunity to put in place a solid foundation for peace.

We reiterate our full support to the Palestinian people and their rights to self-determination on their land and to establish an independent Palestinian State with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital. In order to strengthen the pillars of peace and security in the region, there is no other sovereignty possible in Al-Quds Al-Sharif except that of the Palestinian State. We expect the State of Israel to understand this fact, which means that the sovereignty of the State of Palestine over Al-Quds Al-Sharif would also allow Israelis full freedom of access to worship and conduct their rituals in peace and security.

We strongly support the position of the sisterly Syrian Arab Republic concerning the restoration of its land to the line of 4 June 1967. We encourage Israel to resume negotiations on this important track in accordance with legitimate international principles and resolutions, particularly Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973) and the principle of land for peace. Israel should not feel exposed to security threats in the future because a peace founded on those principles, whether that peace be with Syria, Palestine or Lebanon, will build an effective relationship and partnership that will serve the purposes of security and stability. This, by itself, is one of the most important guarantees of mutual security and stability, especially if it is based on economic development within the context of globalization.


The meeting rose at 12.35 p.m.

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