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19th plenary meeting
Monday, 25 September 2006, 3 p.m.
The President: I give the floor to His Excellency The Honourable Lieutenant General Mompati Merafhe, Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Botswana.
Mr. Merafhe (Botswana): ...
Every year we come to this rostrum to call for progress in the Middle East peace process. For generations that region has known no peace. If there is any lesson to be learned, it is that the only avenue to a lasting political settlement is through dialogue, accommodation and compromise. It is only in an atmosphere of negotiation that reason and common sense can prevail over extremism and war-mongering.
Israel and Palestine must coexist as sovereign States that share, not only a border, but a desire for peace, security and prosperity. We urge the people of the Middle East to summon up the courage to recognize the folly of war and accept the virtue of dialogue. They should start building a common future for generations that will know no violence and conflict, but only cooperation and concord.
The Acting President (spoke in Spanish): I now give the floor to His Excellency Mr. Morshed Khan, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Bangladesh.
Mr. Khan (Bangladesh): ...
The Assembly is meeting against a backdrop of dire human tragedy. The recent wanton Israeli aggression in Lebanon has shocked the world. Most disconcerting has been the fact that the international community failed to respond promptly and effectively, as colossal devastation wrecked Lebanon and the Lebanese people. In the end, the Security Council redeemed itself by ordering a ceasefire in Lebanon. Let us hope that the Security Council will exercise its mandated responsibilities so that such atrocities and violations of human rights do not occur in the future under any pretext.
Alongside Lebanon, the dire situation in Palestine has worsened owing to the continuous use of disproportionate force by the Israeli Government. We call upon the international community to make sincere efforts to put the peace process back on track.
The Acting President (spoke in French): I now give the floor to His Excellency Mr. Abdurrahman Mohamed Shalghem, Secretary of the General People’s Committee for Foreign Liaison and International Cooperation of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya.
Mr. Shalghem (Libyan Arab Jamahiriya) (spoke in Arabic): ...
The massacres and repression that are committed by Israeli occupation forces in occupied Palestine against the Palestinian people and the flagrant violations of human rights confirm that the so-called peace process is but a mirage that will not yield any results, particularly given the inability of the Security Council to take any action to protect the Palestinian people and to compel the occupation force to respect its commitments and stop its aggression and crimes against the Palestinian people. Libya therefore reiterates its emphasis that any proposed solutions that seek to impose a fait accompli will not resolve the Palestinian question, nor will they provide peace for the area. The only solution that can achieve peace is to guarantee the return of all Palestinian refugees to their homes and to establish a democratic State on the land of historical Palestine, in which Arabs and Jews live on equal footing, similar to South Africa, where blacks and whites manage to coexist after decades of conflict and bloodshed. Unless that is achieved, the region will continue to live in a state of conflict, in which no one will enjoy any peace or security.
The recent Israeli aggression against Lebanon and its targeting of the infrastructure and civilians there emphasize the need for urgent action to compel the occupation forces to withdraw from the Sheba’a farms and return them to Lebanon. Additionally, urgent action is needed regarding the withdrawal from and return to Syria of the occupied Syrian Golan. The Israelis should be forced to pay reparations for the damage they caused in Lebanon due to their brutal aggression.
The Acting President (spoke in French): I now call on His Excellency Mr. Lamin Kaba Bajo, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of the Gambia.
Mr. Bajo (Gambia): ...
Rather than abating, the situation in the Middle East continues to fester and, in fact, deteriorate, as the Road Map leading to a two-State solution to the Palestinian-Israeli problem eludes us further. My delegation has repeatedly decried the lack of will on the part of the protagonists to work towards a speedy solution to this problem, which continues to spawn many other conflicts in other regions of the world.
It is a matter of deep regret that this world body watched almost helplessly as a Member State — Lebanon — was attacked and made to suffer extensive destruction to infrastructure, property and human life. Although we have been able to bring about a cessation of hostilities, we cannot claim to have achieved peace. All the conditions for a resumption of the conflict remain intact. We must address those conditions more resolutely. We must also do everything within our power to ensure that the problem between Hizbollah and Israel does not pull in other countries of the region and lead to full scale war between them and Israel. The consequences would be disastrous for us all.
My delegation condemns in the strongest terms Israel’s continued illegal occupation of Palestinian territory and Arab lands, its intensive military campaign in the West Bank and Gaza, which has resulted in untold civilian casualties and extensive destruction of infrastructure, and its arrest and detention of thousands of Palestinian civilians and their leaders. The Hamas Government in Palestine was elected democratically by the Palestinian people, who, by the tenets of democracy which we all claim to espouse, are the only ones who may freely choose their leaders. Or are we to understand that this basic tenet of democracy should apply only if the leaders chosen are to our liking and meet with our approval? I urge all peace-loving and democratic members of the international community to assist the Hamas Government to play its role as a representative of its people in a responsible, democratic and dignified manner.
The President: I now give the floor to His Excellency Mr. Le Cong Phung, Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs of Viet Nam.
Mr. Le Cong Phung (Viet Nam): ...
In this connection, I wish to state Viet Nam’s consistent policy of supporting the just struggle of the Palestinian people for their inalienable rights. I call on all parties concerned to implement the United Nations Security Council resolutions on the Middle East, including resolution 1701 (2006), and soon arrive at a fair and lasting solution for peace and stability in the region.
The meeting rose at 7.05 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.