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President: The Hon. Julian R. Hunte..............................................(Saint Lucia)
The meeting was called to order at 3 p.m.
Address by Mr. Robert Mugabe, President of the Republic of Zimbabwe
The President: The Assembly will first hear an address by the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe.
Mr. Robert Mugabe, President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, was escorted into the General Assembly Hall.
The President: On behalf of the General Assembly, I have the honour to welcome to the United Nations His Excellency Mr. Robert Mugabe, President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, and to invite him to address the Assembly.
President Mugabe: ...
The situation in the Middle East remains grave and troubled. A conflict that is quite costly on both sides of the divide continues unabated, with the only response from the international community coming by way of episodic judgements that maldistribute blame on the basis of individual national interests. Especially wrong is the belief that settlement can come only through ostracizing and even eliminating the leadership of the Palestinian people. Assassinations and extrajudicial killings must be rejected as a formula for peace.
Agenda item 9 (continued)
The President: I now call on His Excellency Mr. Abdullah Gül, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Turkey.
Mr. Gül (Turkey): ...
In close cooperation with the United Nations, Turkey has accumulated vast experience over the years in the areas of regional cooperation, peacekeeping and conflict prevention. We have also shown a strong will to solve our bilateral foreign policy problems. Today we have very good relations with some neighbouring countries with which we experienced difficulties in the recent past. We are also doing our best to contribute to the solution of problems in the Middle East, the Balkans and the Caucasus.
The situation in the Middle East will remain of crucial significance for the evolution of the international environment for some time to come. We do not believe that the Middle East is condemned to eternal strife and suffering. This is one cradle of civilization that had enjoyed peace and prosperity for centuries. That is why we believe that it is feasible today to transform the Middle East into a region of security, cooperation and prosperity. There is an urgent need today for a fresh start in the region. The situation in Iraq and the Arab-Israeli conflict are at the core of efforts to bring stability to the region.
In the Middle East we are again witnessing a cycle of terror and violence that is taking hostage all efforts towards peace. We view the restoration of the channels of communication and dialogue between Palestinians and Israelis as the most urgent task at hand. We believe that sending the elected President of the Palestinian National Authority into exile cannot serve any good purpose. We call upon the Israeli Government to review its position. At the same time, we urge the Palestinian side to make every effort to prevent further terrorist attacks. Turkey has close ties with both Israelis and Palestinians. We remain ready to contribute to the implementation of the road map, to which we believe there is no alternative. We are also willing to contribute to the improvement of the security environment as needed, and to the alleviation of the harsh living conditions of Palestinians.
In order to achieve progress, resources have to be utilized rationally and to the benefit of the people, as the Iraqi case has shown. The need for reform is not a novelty in the Middle East. What may be new is the growing recognition that progress is dependent on political and social factors, as well as on economic ones. Gradual steps towards more representative and accountable structures are being taken by a number of countries in the Middle East. They deserve the encouragement of the international community.
The world needs the elimination of weapons of mass destruction. It does not need them to proliferate. The inherent logic of that argument has been recognized by the community of nations that have adhered to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. We strongly support the efforts aimed at increasing membership in non-proliferation agreements and regimes.
My country’s regional policies are shaped by our desire to achieve durable peace and greater cooperation in our neighbourhood. I have already outlined our approach with regard to the Middle East.
The President: I now call on His Excellency Sheik Hamad bin Jassem bin Jabr Al-Thani, First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of the State of Qatar.
Sheik Al-Thani (Qatar) (spoke in Arabic): ...
The Arab-Israeli conflict and the question of Palestine are at the top of the list of the conflicts that need concerted action in order to achieve a just, final and comprehensive solution, particularly in the light of the continuation and acceleration of the bloody confrontation that has raged between the Palestinian people and Israeli occupation forces for so many years. It must be noted that we in the State of Qatar have welcomed the road map. We expressed our support for the Quartet’s efforts to have both sides begin implementing the various stages of the road map, in keeping with the vision articulated by Mr. George Bush, President of the United States, as a basis for the final solution of establishing two States living side by side. We did so despite the many difficulties, obstacles and setbacks encountered by those efforts in the past few weeks. We must also firmly stress that implementation of the road map cannot be undertaken by only one side — the Palestinian people. It requires that the Israeli side also fulfil its obligations and take the necessary actions in that regard.
All of the aforementioned requires that the international community and the members of the Quartet — particularly the United States of America — intervene, intensify their efforts and increase their pressure on the Israeli Government so that it will do its part, in return for the Palestinians’ commitment to do theirs. Thus, Israeli occupation forces must refrain from carrying out assassinations, must lift the siege that they have imposed on Palestinian territories, enable the Palestinians to live in security, peace and dignity on their own land and to move freely in their own areas, put an end to the policies of starvation, humiliation and house demolition, and cease construction of the buffer wall currently being built by the Israeli authorities.
Mr. Van den Berg (Netherlands), Vice-President, took the Chair.
The Acting President: I give the floor to His Excellency Mr. Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands.
Mr. De Hoop Scheffer (Netherlands): ...
Let me now focus on the General Assembly. Take the example of how we deal with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Let us connect the General Assembly to reality. Instead of dealing with 23 resolutions, should we not try to find our strength in a more focused central message, supported by all, a message that calls upon both Israel and the Palestinians to put an end to the bloodshed and violence and to immediately implement the road map as the only viable way to long-lasting peace? The EU will continue to do all it can, together with its partners in the Quartet, to help Palestinians and Israelis reach that destination. I hope that this Assembly can contribute.
The Acting President: I give the floor to His Excellency Mr. Rashid Abdullah Al-Noaimi, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the United Arab Emirates.
Mr. Al-Noaimi (United Arab Emirates) (spoke in Arabic): ...
The United Arab Emirates has been closely following the dangerous developments in the occupied Palestinian territories. We condemn the policies of targeted killings and closure being carried out by Israel, in violation of all relevant international and humanitarian laws. We therefore call upon the Quartet and on other influential countries to revitalize the peace process and to compel Israel to implement the road map, which stipulates an end to the Israeli occupation and the establishment of a Palestinian State by 2005. The road map also calls on Israel to refrain from building illegal settlements and to ensure the return of the refugees.
We demand that Israel cease placing obstacles in the way of the implementation of the road map — obstacles such as the killing and destruction perpetrated by Israeli occupying forces against Palestinians and their property in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. We also demand that Israel lift the unjust siege on President Yasser Arafat and the Palestinian people, dismantle the separation fence and release Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons.
A fair, lasting and comprehensive settlement of the Middle East conflict requires a commitment by Israel to adhere to international resolutions, which are based on the principle of land for peace; the Arab peace initiative, endorsed by the Beirut Summit, including the Syrian and Lebanese tracks; and Israeli withdrawal from all Palestinian and Arab lands occupied since 1967, including Al-Quds Al-Sharif, the Syrian Golan and the Lebanese Shaba’a Farms area.
The Middle East region, including the Arab Gulf, must be freed of all weapons of mass destruction, and Israel must join the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and subject its nuclear facilities to the safeguards of the International Atomic Energy Agency, pursuant to relevant United Nations resolutions.
The Acting President: I give the floor to His Excellency Mr. Habib Ben Yahia, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Tunisia.
Mr. Ben Yahia (Tunisia) (spoke in Arabic): ...
Mr. Zarif (Islamic Republic of Iran), Vice-President, took the Chair.
The Middle East continues to suffer from a cycle of violence and tension. The road map, which Tunisia supported, revived hope for the resumption of the peace process. However, that hope was soon faced with Israel’s insistence on imposing the reality of occupation and continuous military campaigns against the Palestinian people, including the decision to expel President Yasser Arafat, despite the Palestinian Authority’s readiness to fulfil its commitments in the framework of the road map. In the face of the deteriorating situation, we believe that the international community, particularly the members of the Quartet, should not allow the will of peace to be defeated and should therefore spare no effort to enhance the peace process.
While reiterating its attachment to the peace process and its determination to contribute effectively to its success, Tunisia stresses the need to respect the legitimacy of the Palestinian Authority and its leadership, chosen freely by the Palestinian people. We also believe that, given the continuing tragic conditions of the Palestinian people, it is high time to heed the call made by President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali during the Extraordinary Arab Summit held in Cairo in October 2000 to provide the Palestinian people with international protection, particularly as that call was supported by many States.
The Acting President: I now call on His Excellency Mr. Nguyen Dy Nien, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam.
Mr. Nguyen Dy Nien (Viet Nam): ...
Viet Nam reaffirms its consistent support for the just cause and inalienable rights of the Palestinian people. We call upon the parties concerned to exercise restraint, to persevere in negotiation and to accelerate their pace on the road to a just and durable peace in the Middle East that takes due account of the legitimate interests of the parties. Any unilateral action can only worsen the already volatile situation in the region.
The Acting President: I now call on His Excellency Mr. Jean Ping, Minister of State and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Cooperation and la Francophonie of Gabon.
Mr. Ping (Gabon) (spoke in French): ...
Beyond Iraq, the future of the entire Middle East region must be at the centre of all our attention. The road map remains, despite current threats to its enforcement, the sole hope to restore peace between the parties to the conflict and sustainable regional balance to the Middle East. Gabon urges the two parties to end the violence and resume their dialogue.
The Acting President: I now call on His Excellency Mr. Fiorenzo Stolfi, Minister for Foreign and Political Affairs of San Marino.
Mr. Stolfi (San Marino) (spoke in Italian; English text provided by the delegation ): ...
Our collective efforts to restore favourable conditions for dialogue and mutual acceptance must not be weakened by the growing concern of persistent, serious obstacles to the road map for peace in the Middle East, where negotiations and agreements are being jeopardized by renewed terrorist attacks, hatred and retaliation. We are convinced that the Israeli and Palestinian peoples must be ensured the indisputable right to live freely in their own territory, where they can exercise their full sovereignty in security and peace.
The Acting President: I now call on His Excellency Mr. João Bernardo de Miranda, Minister for External Relations of Angola.
Mr. Miranda (Angola) (spoke in Portuguese; English text provided by the delegation): ...
Angola deplores the loss of civilian life and the material damage caused by the escalation of the conflict in the Middle East. The rekindling of violence between Palestinians and Israelis represents the greatest danger to the implementation of the road map for peace, whose ultimate objective is the signing of an agreement for the creation of an independent, viable Palestinian State, living side by side and in peace with Israel and its other neighbours. In our view, that is the only solution capable of putting a definite end to the cycle of violence.
The Acting President: I now call on Mr. Roy Chaderton-Matos, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Venezuela.
Mr. Chaderton-Matos (Venezuela) (spoke in Spanish): ...
This year, our activities in the General Assembly are overclouded by the attack on the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad, where so many faithful servants of the Organization lost their lives, by the aftermath of the war and the tense situation existing in the Middle East and by the alarming world poverty indices, a scenario that leads us to profound reflection and demands that we strengthen the Organization’s capacity to respond.
The meeting rose at 7.30 p.m.
This record contains the text of speeches delivered in English and of the interpretation of speeches delivered in the other languages. Corrections should be submitted to the original languages only. They should be incorporated in a copy of the record and sent under the signature of a member of the delegation concerned to the Chief of the Verbatim Reporting Service, room C-154A. Corrections will be issued after the end of the session in a consolidated corrigendum.