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12th plenary meeting
Wednesday, 20 September 2006, 10 a.m.
The meeting was called to order at 10.10 a.m.
The President: On behalf of the General Assembly, I have the honour to welcome to the United Nations His Excellency Mr. Hâmid Karzai, President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, and to invite him to address the General Assembly.
President Karzai: ...
The situation in the Middle East, including the question of Palestine, remains a source of great concern to us in Afghanistan. Afghanistan strongly supports the full realization of the rights of the Palestinian people, including the right to sovereignty and an independent State of Palestine living side by side in peace and coexistence with the State of Israel. Afghanistan also shares the pain of the people of Lebanon as they suffer a terrible relapse into destruction caused by war. We hope that the international community will step in with concern and generosity to address Lebanon’s needs so that it may recover.
The President : On behalf of the General Assembly, I have the honour to welcome to the United Nations His Excellency Mr. Martín Torrijos, President of the Republic of Panama, and to invite him to address the Assembly.
President Torrijos (spoke in Spanish) : ...
There are tested ways to promote confidence among parties, to reconcile positions and to achieve consensus. The use of arms can help some people to gain some short-term objectives but the atmosphere is poisoned and there cannot be peaceful coexistence among neighbours, families and peoples that geography has placed so close to one another. It is obvious from every perspective that a solution to the conflict requires the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of Israel from the occupied territories, establishment of the Palestine State and recognition of Israel’s right to exist as a State. All the countries in the region must have sufficient guarantees that conflicts will not be resolved through force and that no territory can be used to attack a neighbour. Peace in the Middle East has to be built by each and every State with the resolute support of the international community.
The President : On behalf of the General Assembly, I have the honour to welcome to the United Nations Her Excellency Mrs. Michelle Bachelet Jeria, President of the Republic of Chile, and to invite her to address the Assembly.
President Bachelet Jeria (spoke in Spanish ): ...
Chile supports the deployment of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) with its expanded mandate, and will continue to respond to the appeal to meet urgent humanitarian needs in Lebanon and Palestine. We urge full implementation of Security Council resolution 1701 (2006), which calls on the international community to cooperate in a full cessation of hostilities in the Middle East, the restoration of Lebanon’s sovereignty over its territory and the guaranteeing of Israel’s security.
The President : On behalf of the General Assembly, I have the honour to welcome to the United Nations His Excellency Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa, President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, and to invite him to address the Assembly.
President Rajapaksa : ...
For long years now, on the basis of our commitment to human rights and dignity, we have had a lasting interest in seeing the emergence of peace in the Middle East. Recognition of the rights of the Palestinian people is of concern to me and to my country. Many Sri Lankans have in recent years made the Middle East their temporary home. We are pained by the recent escalation of violence in that region and the devastation in Lebanon. It is our sincere hope that Security Council resolution 1701 (2006) will pave the way for peace and security for Lebanon and the region.
The President : On behalf of the General Assembly, I have the honour to welcome to the United Nations His Excellency Mr. Hugo Chávez Frías, President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, and to invite him to address the Assembly.
President Chávez Frías (spoke in Spanish ): ...
The President also said, “I would like to speak directly to the people across the … Middle East: my country desires peace.” That is true. If we walk through the streets of the Bronx, New York, Washington, San Diego, California, San Antonio and San Francisco — anywhere in the United States — and speak to individual citizens, we shall find that the country does want peace. The difference is that the Government of the United States does not. It wants to impose its system of exploitation and pillage and its hegemony through war. If it wants peace, what is happening in Iraq? What happened in Lebanon and Palestine? What has happened over the past hundred years in Latin America and in world? Now there are new threats against Venezuela and Iran.
The President spoke to the people of Lebanon, saying “Many of you have seen your homes and communities caught in crossfire.” What cynicism! What a capacity to lie shamelessly! Was it crossfire when bombs were dropped on Beirut with millimetric precision? He was thinking of a Western, where men shoot from the hip and somebody gets caught in the crossfire. This was imperialist fire, fascist fire, the fire of an assassin, the genocidal firing of the empire and Israel on the innocent people of Palestine and Lebanon. That is the truth.
The President : On behalf of the General Assembly, I have the honour to welcome to the United Nations His Excellency Mr. Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, President of the Republic of Maldives, and to invite him to address the Assembly.
President Gayoom ( spoke in Dhivehi; English text provided by the delegation ): ...
Instability in any part of the world has implications for the entire international community. One of the most intractable disputes of our time is the conflict in the Middle East, particularly the non-realization of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people. The recent hostilities in Lebanon and the sufferings of the Lebanese people have their roots in the Palestinian problem. The Palestinian issue must be resolved, in accordance with international law and the relevant resolutions of the Security Council.
Agenda item 8 (continued)
The President : I have pleasure in welcoming His Excellency Mr. Romano Prodi, Prime Minister of the Republic of Italy, and inviting him to address the General Assembly.
Mr. Prodi (Italy) (spoke in Italian; English text provided by the delegation ): ...
In the Middle East, as I mentioned earlier, we need to seize our opportunities and openings , aware that there will be no peace until the Palestinian question has been resolved, with an independent, sovereign, vital and contiguous Palestinian state next to the state of Israel, and both within secure and internationally recognized borders.
The President : On behalf of the General Assembly, I have great pleasure in welcoming to the United Nations His Excellency Mr. Esteban Lazo Hernández, Vice-President of the Republic of Cuba, and inviting him to address the General Assembly.
Mr. Lazo Hernández (Cuba) (spoke in Spanish ): ...
The participants reaffirmed the right of the Palestinian people to have their own State, and condemned the Government of Israel for the new wave of crimes and massacres in Gaza and other occupied territories. They also vigorously condemned Israel’s merciless acts of aggression against Lebanon and the serious violations of that nation’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
The President (spoke in Arabic ): I now call on His Highness Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani, Heir Apparent of the State of Qatar, to address the Assembly.
Sheikh Al-Thani (Qatar) (spoke in Arabic ): ...
The Arab-Israeli conflict and the Palestinian question must be accorded top priority, for which a comprehensive, permanent and just solution is urgently needed. The Palestinian question is an example of suffering visited upon a people whose legitimate rights were denied, a question that has been on the agendas of the Security Council and the General Assembly for more than 50 years. Therefore the international community must review its position towards a fundamental issue that it has left unresolved for more than half a century, thus compounding the tragedy of the Palestinian people.
Compelling Israel to implement United Nations resolutions is a collective duty that we must all fulfil so that international legitimacy will not be branded as selective. The Palestinian people must be enabled to exercise their right to self-determination and to establish their independent State with Jerusalem as its capital.
A comprehensive, peaceful settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict should also be achieved, on the basis of Israel’s withdrawal from all the territories it occupied in 1967, including the Syrian Golan and the Lebanese Sheba’a farms. We also stress that the guarantee of permanent peace, security and stability in the region lies in making the Middle East a zone free from all weapons of mass destruction without any exceptions.
The President (spoke in Arabic ): I now call on His Highness Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the United Arab Emirates.
Sheikh Al Nahyan (United Arab Emirates) (spoke in Arabic ): ...
We are deeply concerned at the continued inability of the international community to solve the Palestinian question and establish peace in the Middle East. That has encouraged Israel to continue its occupation of the Palestinian territories, the Sheba’a farms in Lebanon and the Syrian Golan, and to repeat its aggressions on various levels. Therefore, we urge the United Nations to respond today to the recent initiative of the League of Arab States, which calls upon the international organization to play an effective role in reviving the peace process in the Middle East and resume direct negotiations on all tracks, in accordance with resolutions of international legitimacy and the Arab Peace Initiative.
We also affirm that consolidation of peace and stability in the Middle East region cannot be achieved through military power or the continued and deliberate destruction of the infrastructure in the Palestinian territories and in Lebanon, but through compelling Israel to ensure its full compliance with international resolutions, including the resumption of negotiations with the Palestinian Authority and the release of Palestinian funds and the thousands of Palestinian detainees and prisoners. Israel is further requested to open the crossing points to secure delivery of emergency humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian people, to remove settlements and the separation wall and to withdraw fully from all the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, so that the establishment of an independent Palestinian State, with Al-Quds al-Sharif as its capital, can be declared.
The meeting rose at 1.30 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.