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10th plenary meeting
Thursday, 25 September 2008, 3 p.m.
President: Mr. d’Escoto Brockmann .......................................... (Nicaragua)
Agenda item 8 (continued)
Address by Mr. Ali Osman Mohamed Taha, Vice-President of the Republic of the Sudan
The Acting President : The Assembly will now hear an address by the Vice-President of the Republic of the Sudan.
Mr. Ali Osman Mohamed Taha, Vice-President of the Republic of the Sudan, was escorted to the rostrum.
The Acting President : I have great pleasure in welcoming His Excellency Mr. Ali Osman Mohamed Taha, Vice-President of the Republic of the Sudan, and inviting him to address the Assembly.
Mr. Taha (Sudan) (spoke in Arabic ): ...
The Sudan emphasizes the fact that the maintenance of international peace and security requires, first and foremost, an urgent solution to the problem in Palestine and that the situation be dealt with in a decisive and serious manner, especially in view of the tragic situation that the Palestinian people in the occupied territories are facing. The international community is called upon today more than any other time to put pressure on the occupying authorities to abide by resolutions of international legitimacy so that the Palestinian people may realize their full right to self-determination and the establishment of an independent State with Jerusalem as its capital.
The Acting President: I have great pleasure in welcoming His Excellency Taro Aso, Prime Minister of Japan, and inviting him to address the General Assembly.
Mr. Aso (Japan): ...
I should now like to change topic and recount a small event that took place this past summer. It happened in a small town on the outskirts of Tokyo. Nine high-school students from abroad arrived there at the end of August, setting foot in Japan for their first time. There was nothing unusual about those very typical-looking high-school student visitors, grimacing at the unfamiliar food placed before them. However, there was one aspect in which those young men and women stood apart from participants in conventional invitation programmes. Those high-school students, four Palestinians and five Israelis, had all lost at least one relative as a result of terrorism or another aspect of the severe situation in the Middle East.
I have just described one of the ongoing efforts by Japanese civil society to promote reconciliation. Those high-school students may have no chance to interact with each other when they are back home, but for the several days that they are in a distant country, travelling here and there across the beautiful, verdant land of Japan in pairs comprising Israelis and Palestinians, something changes inside them. Those young people come to understand that religion and ethnicity make no difference when it comes to the sorrow felt at losing a parent, and they often shed tears upon coming to that realization. Through those tears of understanding they will come to see ties between their futures.
For comprehensive peace in the Middle East, what is necessary is the mental groundwork that will make such peace possible. By investing in the young minds of high-school students, Japanese civil society is working to foster that groundwork.
As that example suggests, there is no doubt in my mind that there are certain types of diplomacy that Japan is uniquely able to undertake. If Israeli drip irrigation technology were to be introduced in the West Bank of the Jordan River, Palestinian youth would be able to devote themselves to the production of vegetables. However, the wall of distrust that separates the two sides will not allow that in the immediate future. Here, Japan wishes to act as a catalyst, serving as a mediator between the two sides.
Japan is willing to bring its own technologies that maximize the potential of drip irrigation. In time, as a result of irrigation, the land of the West Bank will become fertile. The agricultural products grown there will be processed by Palestinians and transported through Jordan to be laid out fresh in stores in consumer regions around the Gulf. The Government of Japan aims to bring about such a future through its Corridor for Peace and Prosperity initiative. Here, Japan continues to provide its technologies and funding, but most of all, it aims to be a mediator, fostering trust. Needless to say, trust is the scarcest resource of all in the Middle East.
The Acting President : I have great pleasure in welcoming His Excellency Sheikh Naser Al-Mohammad Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, Prime Minister of the State of Kuwait, and inviting him to address the General Assembly.
Sheikh Al-Sabah (Kuwait) (spoke in Arabic ): ...
Achieving sustainable development in the Middle East will depend to a large extent on the ability of the countries of the region and the international community to address security issues and challenges that are a constant source of tension and instability. In our desire to achieve peace, we call on the international community now and in the future to help calm the hotbeds of tension and instability.
Any genuine and serious desire to achieve a comprehensive, just and lasting peace must adhere to the relevant resolutions of international legitimacy, the principle of land for peace, the road map adopted under Security Council resolution 1515 (2003) and the Arab peace initiative, leading to the attainment by the Palestinian people of all their legitimate political rights and the establishment of their independent State on their own land. We reaffirm our full support for the sisterly Syrian Arab Republic in recovering its occupied lands. We also express our support for the sisterly Republic of Lebanon as it pursues dialogue between all Lebanese parties in implementation of the agreement signed in Doha, capital of the sisterly State of Qatar.
The meeting rose at 9 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.