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12th plenary meeting
Friday, 26 September 2008, 3 p.m.
President: Mr. Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann .......................................... (Nicaragua)
The meeting was called to order at 3.20 p.m.
Agenda item 8 (continued)
Address by Mr. Lawrence Gonzi, Prime Minister of the Republic of Malta
The President ( spoke in Spanish): The Assembly will now hear an address by the Prime Minister of the Republic of Malta.
Mr. Lawrence Gonzi, Prime Minister of the Republic of Malta, was escorted to the rostrum.
The President ( spoke in Spanish ): I have great pleasure in welcoming His Excellency Mr. Lawrence Gonzi, Prime Minister of the Republic of Malta, and inviting him to address the General Assembly.
Mr. Gonzi (Malta): ...
We welcome and recognize the important developments on the Cyprus question; the renewed vigour in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations; the indirect negotiations between Israel and Syria, with Turkish mediation; the formation of a national unity Government in Lebanon; and the improved relations between Lebanon and Syria.
Since we met here last year important developments have taken place on the negotiations for a permanent settlement of the Palestinian question. The Annapolis Conference, held in November 2007, renewed hope when there was otherwise a bleak future with regard to the resolution of this question. Malta feels that all United Nations Member States, without exception, should continue to support the Secretary-General in his quest, together with the Quartet, to resolve the issue of Palestine refugees and that of the permanent status of Jerusalem, as well as the other important issues of settlements, borders, water and security.
The Paris International Donors Conference for the Palestinian State, the formal start of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations and the series of meetings between Prime Minister Olmert and President Abbas have given a most welcome meaning to the efforts being made to resolve all outstanding issues, including all core issues without exception.
Malta’s hosting of a United Nations International Meeting on the Question of Palestine, held in June this year, followed shortly afterwards by the visit to Malta of President Mahmoud Abbas in July, came at an important — indeed, crucial — phase in the ongoing efforts to implement the Road Map and its commitments, as well as the obligations for a permanent two-State solution. We shall continue to lend our support to all initiatives that would bring everlasting peace to both the Israeli and Palestinian people.
The President (spoke in Spanish ): I have great pleasure in welcoming His Excellency Mr. Derrick Sikua, Prime Minister of the Solomon Islands, and inviting him to address the General Assembly.
Mr. Sikua (Solomon Islands): ...
Solomon Islands welcomes the 47-day Annapolis talks held from December 2007 into January this year. My delegation shares the Quartet’s support for ongoing Palestine and Israel negotiations to realize the shared goal of establishing a Palestine State by December 2008 as a just, permanent and long-lasting solution to the Middle East conflict.
Solomon Islands further salutes Turkey for mediating talks between Israel and Syria in April, and salutes the courage of the two countries in discussing issues that are difficult and sensitive.
Mr. Abdelaziz (Egypt), Vice-President, took the Chair.
The Acting President : I have great pleasure in welcoming His Excellency Mr. Abbas El Fassi, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Morocco, and inviting him to address the General Assembly.
Mr. El Fassi (Morocco) (spoke in Arabic ): ...
The Middle East peace process, initiated at the Madrid Conference in 1991, was unfortunately unsuccessful in ending the conflict, which continues to see heavy daily casualties and causes millions of Palestinians to live in inhumane and tragic conditions. In this context Morocco closely follows the latest developments regarding the situation in the Middle East and encourages all initiatives aiming to bring peace to that region, with respect to international legality and to the agreements previously reached, namely the Road Map and the Arab Peace Initiative.
This last initiative undoubtedly represents a realistic solution, reflecting the true commitment of Arab countries to reach a just, comprehensive and lasting solution that would allow the Palestinian people to establish an independent State with Al-Quds as its capital and force Israel to withdraw from all occupied Arab land, a solution that would enable the people and the countries of the Middle East to live in peace, stability and security.
The Kingdom of Morocco equally expresses the necessity to respect the particular situation of Jerusalem by avoiding degrading and humiliating practices and curtailing any attempts to undermine the specificities of the Holy City in regard to culture, religion and civilization. In this regard, His Majesty King Mohammed VI, Chairman of the Al-Quds Committee, spares no effort in encouraging world leaders to help put an end to the projects taking place around the Al-Aqsa Mosque and in other parts of Jerusalem.
The Acting President (spoke in Spanish ): I have great pleasure in welcoming His Excellency Mr. Ahmed Tidiane Souaré, Prime Minister of the Republic of Guinea, and inviting him to address the General Assembly.
Mr. Souaré (Guinea) (spoke in French ): ...
The legitimate war against blind and unacceptable terrorism, waged on several fronts since 2001, is unfortunately far from reassuring. The anachronistic Israeli-Palestinian conflict persists in spite of the welcome decision to seek a negotiated settlement of that dispute. ...
In the Middle East, it is obvious that resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will require a regional solution based on the creation of an independent, sovereign and viable Palestinian State living side by side and in peace with Israel in accordance with the relevant resolutions of the United Nations and the Quartet road map.
The Acting President (spoke in Spanish ): I now call on His Excellency Mr. Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Deputy Federal Chancellor and Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of Germany.
Mr. Steinmeier (Germany) ( spoke in German; interpretation provided by the delegation ): ...
International engagement is also still necessary in the Middle East. In the current phase of domestic uncertainty, we call upon all parties to the conflict not to ease up in their efforts to resolve the conflict. As experience has shown, to stand still in the Middle East often means to take a step backward. A new wave of terror and violent clashes would result, and neither Israel nor Palestine, nor the international community, can afford to let that happen.
Germany believes it has a particular responsibility to provide concrete assistance to improve the framework conditions. Just recently, at the Berlin Conference in Support of Palestinian Civil Security and the Rule of Law — which many of those here attended — we agreed on concrete measures to strengthen the Palestinian security sector. Those measures are already having an impact.
The problems in Georgia, Afghanistan, Pakistan and the Middle East highlight one fact: it is more urgent than ever that we develop the foundations for a stable world order. My country stands for dialogue and the reconciliation of interests. That does not mean dialogue for the sake of discussion, without any results; nor does reconciliation of interests imply that we are prepared to abandon our own principles. We believe that it is essential to renounce violence, ensure fairness and recognize international law.
The Acting President (spoke in Spanish ): I now call on His Excellency Mr. Franco Frattini, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Italy.
Mr. Frattini (Italy): ...
Global security and regional security are very closely connected. We welcome the positive signals from the Middle East, such as the continuation of the negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians, the beginning of a national dialogue among the Lebanese political forces to fully implement the Doha agreements, and the new chapter in relations between Lebanon and Syria.
The Acting President (spoke in Spanish ): I now call on His Excellency Mr. João Bernardo de Miranda, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Angola.
Mr. Miranda (Angola) ( spoke in Portuguese; English text provided by the delegation ): ...
In the Middle East, the latest developments seem to introduce a light at the end of the tunnel, with regard to a definitive resolution of the Palestinian and the Israeli-Arab issues. Angola encourages the parties involved to engage in a dialogue that will lead to the de facto and de jure establishment of a Palestinian State, with recognized borders, coexisting side by side with Israel.
The meeting rose at 9.20 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.