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UNITED
NATIONS
A

        General Assembly
A/58/PV.68
3 December 2003

Official Records

General Assembly
Fifty-eighth session
68th plenary meeting
Wednesday, 3 December 2003, 10.30 a.m.
New York


President: The Hon. Julian R. Hunte ................(Saint Lucia)

In the absence of the President, Mr. Alexandre (Haiti), Vice-President, took the Chair.

The meeting was called to order at 10.30 a.m.

/...

Agenda item 38 (continued)

Question of Palestine

Draft resolutions (A/58/L.23, A/58/L.24, A/58/L.25 and A/58/L.26/Rev.1)

The Acting President: The General Assembly will resume its consideration of agenda item 38 entitled “Question of Palestine” to take action on draft resolution A/58/L.23 to A/58/L.26/Rev.1. Members will recall that the General Assembly held a debate on this item at its 65th and 66th meetings, on 1 and 2 December 2003.

We shall now proceed to consider draft resolutions A/58/L.23 to A/58/L.26/Rev.1.

Before giving the floor to the speaker in explanation of vote before the vote, may I remind delegations that explanations of vote are limited to 10 minutes and should be made by delegations from their seats.

Mr. Shacham (Israel): Israel will vote against the draft resolutions contained in documents A/58/L.23, A/58/L.24, A/58/L.25 and A/58/L.26 Rev.1. The ritualistic recycling of these outdated draft resolutions year after year remains utterly oblivious to the realities in the Middle East and contradictory to the letter and spirit of signed accords.

Draft resolutions A/58/L.23 and L.24 refer respectively to what are termed the “Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People” and the “Division for Palestinian Rights of the Secretariat”. Since their inception, these bodies have obstructed dialogue and understanding through a preset, one-sided portrayal of the Arab-Israeli conflict. They are engaged in activities that hinder, rather than promote, progress towards achieving a peaceful, negotiated and mutually acceptable solution. Moreover, the Division for Palestinian Rights, being a body within the Secretariat mandated to advance the interests of one side to a conflict, is absolutely contrary to the impartiality and the objectivity required of the Secretariat by the United Nations Charter, and is an example of the bias and lack of legitimacy associated with the United Nations treatment of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In addition, these bodies expend valuable resources which could be better invested in responding to the real needs of the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, let alone other conflicts throughout the globe.

Draft resolution A/58/L.25 endorses the “special information programme on the question of Palestine of the Department of Public Information of the Secretariat”. This programme, through its various seminars, missions and exhibits, also promotes a distorted and one-sided perspective of the conflict.

Draft resolution A/58/L.26/Rev.1 claims to support a “Peaceful settlement of the question of Palestine”. Yet the draft resolution, in content and purpose, actually goes against the agreements already achieved between the parties and undermines the peace process it professes to support. As is so common in General Assembly resolutions on Arab-Israeli issues, it pretends that Israel has responsibilities with no rights and that Palestinians have rights but no responsibilities. This draft resolution openly seeks to predetermine issues that must be resolved through negotiations, violates existing agreements and undermines the integrity and the foundations of the peace process.

The Acting President: We have heard the only speaker in the explanation of vote before the vote.

The Assembly will now take decisions on draft resolutions A/58/L.23 to A/58/L.26/Rev.1.

We turn first to draft resolution A/58/L.23, entitled, “Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People”.

I should like to announce that since the introduction of the draft resolution, the following countries have become sponsors of A/58/L.23: Namibia, Oman and Togo.

A recorded vote has been requested.

A recorded vote was taken.

In favour:

Afghanistan, Algeria, Antigua and Barbuda, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belize, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chile, China, Colombia, Comoros, Côte d’Ivoire, Cuba, Cyprus, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Djibouti, Ecuador, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Fiji, Gabon, Grenada, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, India, Indonesia, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Jamaica, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Lebanon, Lesotho, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Madagascar, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Philippines, Qatar, Saint Lucia, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Syrian Arab Republic, Timor-Leste, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United Republic of Tanzania, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe

Against:

Australia, Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia (Federated States of), Nauru, Palau, United States of America

Abstaining:

Albania, Andorra, Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Canada, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Samoa, San Marino, Serbia and Montenegro, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Thailand, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Tonga, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Uruguay, Uzbekistan

Draft resolution A/58/L.23 was adopted by 97 votes to 7, with 60 abstentions (resolution 58/18).

[Subsequently the delegations of Ghana, South Africa, Turkmenistan and the United Arab Emirates informed the Secretariat that they had intended to vote in favour, and Georgia had intended to abstain.]

The Acting President: We turn next to draft resolution A/58/L.24, entitled, “Division for Palestinian Rights of the Secretariat”.

I should like to announce that since the introduction of the draft resolution, the following countries have become sponsors of A/58/L.24: Namibia and Oman.

A recorded vote has been requested.

A recorded vote was taken.

In favour:

Afghanistan, Algeria, Antigua and Barbuda, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belize, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chile, China, Colombia, Comoros, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Cuba, Cyprus, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Djibouti, Ecuador, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Grenada, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, India, Indonesia, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Jamaica, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Lebanon, Lesotho, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Madagascar, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Philippines, Qatar, Saint Lucia, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Somalia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Syrian Arab Republic, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe

Against:

Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia (Federated States of), Nauru, Palau, United States of America

Abstaining:

Albania, Andorra, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Canada, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Estonia, Fiji, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malawi, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Samoa, San Marino, Serbia and Montenegro, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Thailand, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Tonga, Ukraine, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Uzbekistan

Draft resolution A/58/L.24 was adopted by 98 votes to 6, with 63 abstentions (resolution 58/19).

[Subsequently the delegation of Turkmenistan informed the Secretariat that it had intended to vote in favour, and the delegation of Georgia had intended to abstain.]

The Acting President: We turn next to draft resolution A/58/L.25, entitled “Special information programme on the question of Palestine of the Department of Public Information of the Secretariat”.

I should like to announce that since the introduction of the draft resolution, the following countries have become sponsors of A/58/L.25: Namibia and Oman.

A recorded vote has been requested.

A recorded vote was taken.

In favour:

Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Canada, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chile, China, Colombia, Comoros, Congo, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, France, Gabon, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia and Montenegro, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Somalia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Syrian Arab Republic, Tajikistan, Thailand, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Timor-Leste, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe

Against:

Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia (Federated States of), Nauru, Palau, United States of America

Abstaining:

Australia, Honduras, Rwanda, Tonga, Uganda, Uzbekistan

Draft resolution A/58/L.25 was adopted by 159 votes to 6, with 6 abstentions (resolution 58/20).

[Subsequently, the delegations of Georgia and Turkmenistan informed the Secretariat that they had intended to vote in favour.]

The Acting President : The Assembly will now take a decision on draft resolution A/58/L.26/Rev.1, entitled “Peaceful settlement of the question of Palestine”.

I would like to announce that since the introduction of draft resolution A/58/L.26/Rev.1, the following countries have become sponsors: Namibia and Oman.

A recorded vote has been requested.

A recorded vote was taken.

In favour:

Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Canada, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chile, China, Colombia, Comoros, Congo, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, France, Gabon, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia and Montenegro, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Syrian Arab Republic, Tajikistan, Thailand, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Timor-Leste, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe

Against:

Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia (Federated States of), Palau, Uganda, United States of America

Abstaining:

Australia, Honduras, Nauru, Rwanda, Tonga

Draft resolution A/58/L.26/Rev.1 was adopted by 160 votes to 6, with 5 abstentions (resolution 58/21).

[Subsequently, the delegations of Georgia, Turkmenistan and the United Arab Emirates informed the Secretariat that they had intended to vote in favour.]

The Acting President : Before giving the floor to speakers in explanation of vote after the voting, may I remind delegations that explanations of vote are limited to 10 minutes and should be made by delegations from their seats.

Ms. Price (Canada): Canada has consistently supported the rights of the Palestinian people, including the rights to self-determination and to a Palestinian State, while emphasizing the importance of the negotiating process in the fulfilment of those rights. However, we question the value added by the work of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People and of the Division for Palestinian Rights in the pursuit of that ultimate goal. Therefore we have maintained our abstention on the draft resolutions contained in documents A/58/L.23 and A/58/L.24.

Mr. Carnelos (Italy): I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union. The acceding countries of the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia and the associated countries of Bulgaria and Romania, as well as the European Free Trade Association country member of the European Economic Area, Iceland, align themselves with this explanation of vote. I would like to explain the votes by those countries on draft resolution A/58/L.23, entitled “Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People”, and draft resolution A/58/L.24, entitled “Division for Palestinian Rights of the Secretariat”.

During the past year the Middle East was again struck by great tragedy and violence, resulting, inter alia, in an alarmingly high number of civilian casualties. The European Union condemns the recent acts of terror and violence, which only serve to endanger the peace process towards reconciliation. We are convinced that the framework of the peace process represents the only reasonable hope for ending a conflict that has already caused far too much suffering for the peoples involved.

The European Union remains committed to the Quartet’s road map, which was presented to the parties on 30 April 2003. Israelis and Palestinians must address the core issues that divide them through sustained negotiation, moving quickly towards implementation of the road map, in order to realize the vision of two States, Israel and Palestine, living side by side within secure and recognized borders.

The European Union regrets the fact that the terms of reference of the two United Nations bodies dealing with the question of Palestine that are the subject of the two draft resolutions I have referred to do not sufficiently reflect the spirit of the peace process. It is for that reason that, as in the past, we have abstained on the voting on those two draft resolutions.

Mr. Thomson (United Kingdom): I can be brief.

The United Kingdom, like its partners in the European Union, voted in favour of draft resolution A/58/L.26/Rev.1, entitled “Peaceful settlement of the question of Palestine”. We did so because we support the need to find a just and peaceful solution to the Israeli-Palestine conflict. But the United Kingdom regrets that the draft resolution was not better balanced.

The United Kingdom condemns terrorism absolutely.

Both sides have obligations they need to fulfil in order to make progress on the road map. The United Kingdom continues to stand ready to help both sides in their endeavour to find peace.

The Acting President: We have now heard the last speaker in explanation of vote after the voting.

Mr. Al-Kidwa (Palestine) (spoke in Arabic): First of all, we would like to express our gratitude and deep appreciation to the many States that voted in favour of the important draft resolutions just adopted. In order to be brief, I would also like to thank beforehand the countries that will support the draft resolutions introduced under the agenda item entitled “The situation in the Middle East”. In particular, we would like to thank friendly countries that have sponsored those draft resolutions, as well as the Member States and observers in the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People.

There is undoubtedly great political value in the adoption of these draft resolutions by such an overwhelming majority. That majority was achieved despite the intense pressure exerted, which we know full well to have exceeded the pressure exerted in years past. We would like to state that opposition to those draft resolutions is in a political sense an Israeli opposition only, which is, regretfully, backed by the United States of America.

We reiterate our thanks and appreciation to all the countries that have backed those important resolutions.

The Acting President: May I take it that it is the wish of the General Assembly to conclude this stage of its consideration of agenda item 38?

It was so decided.

Agenda item 37 (continued)

The situation in the Middle East

Draft resolutions (A/58/L.27 and A/58/L.28)

The Acting President: Members will recall that the General Assembly held the debate on this item at its 66th and 67th plenary meetings, on 2 December 2003.

We shall now proceed to consider draft resolutions A/58/L.27 and A/58/L.28.

I call on the representative of Israel, who wishes to speak in explanation of vote before the voting. May I remind delegations that explanations of vote are limited to 10 minutes and should be made by delegations from their seats.

Mr. Shacham (Israel): Israel will vote against the draft resolutions contained in documents A/58/L.27 and A/58/L.28.

Regarding draft resolution A/58/L.27, Israel has stated its position on its capital, Jerusalem, on many occasions, and it is a matter of public record. Moreover, Jerusalem is an issue expressly reserved for permanent status negotiations between the parties, which we are currently endeavouring to reconvene. Both Israel and the Palestinians have committed themselves to resolving issues relating to Jerusalem exclusively through negotiations. The attempt to use this forum as an alternative to the negotiations violates the agreements between the sides and undermines the foundation of trust and cooperation that is so necessary for the permanent status talks to reach a fruitful outcome. That is why Israel finds the language in this draft resolution on Jerusalem to be unacceptable.

Concerning draft resolution A/58/L.28, on the Golan, Israel has stated on many occasions and at the highest levels its willingness and interest in resuming its negotiations with Syria without preconditions. As we have stated previously, the Middle East peace process is based, first and foremost, on the principle of direct negotiations. The letter of invitation to the Madrid Peace Conference of 30 October 1991 calls for


However, the language of this draft resolution attempts to predetermine the outcome of those negotiations and thus stands in contradiction to any genuine notion of a negotiated settlement.

For those reasons, Israel will vote against these two draft resolutions.

The Acting President : We have heard the only speaker in explanation of vote before the voting.

The Assembly will now take decisions on draft resolutions A/58/L.27 and A/58/L.28.

We turn first to draft resolution A/58/L.27, entitled “Jerusalem”. A recorded vote has been requested.

A recorded vote was taken.

In favour:

Afghanistan, Algeria, Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Canada, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chile, China, Colombia, Comoros, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, France, Gabon, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia and Montenegro, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Somalia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Syrian Arab Republic, Tajikistan, Thailand, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Ukraine , United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe

Against:

Costa Rica, Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia (Federated States of), Nauru, Palau, Uganda, United States of America

Abstaining:

El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Rwanda, Solomon Islands, Tonga

Draft resolution A/58/L.27 was adopted by 155 votes to 8, with 7 abstentions (resolution 58/22).

The Acting President: Draft resolution A/58/L.28 is entitled “The Syrian Golan”. A recorded vote has been requested.

A recorded vote was taken.

In favour:

Afghanistan, Algeria, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belize, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cape Verde, Chile, China, Colombia, Comoros, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Cuba, Cyprus, Djibouti, Ecuador, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Fiji, Gabon, Ghana, Grenada, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, India, Indonesia, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Jamaica, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Lebanon, Lesotho, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Madagascar, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Philippines, Qatar, Russian Federation, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Somalia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Syrian Arab Republic, Tajikistan, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe

Against:

Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia (Federated States of), Palau, United States of America

Abstaining:

Albania, Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Canada, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Nauru, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Rwanda, Samoa, San Marino, Serbia and Montenegro, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Tonga, Uganda, Ukraine, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Uruguay

Draft resolution A/58/L.28 was adopted by 104 votes to 5, with 61 abstentions (resolution 58/23).

[Subsequently, the delegation of the Democratic Republic of Korea informed the Secretariat that it had intended to vote in favour.]

The Acting President: I shall now call on those representatives who wish to speak in explanation of vote on the resolutions just adopted. May I remind delegations that explanations of vote are limited to 10 minutes and should be made by delegations from their seats.

Mr. Estremé (Argentina) (spoke in Spanish): The Argentine Republic voted in favour of draft resolution A/58/L.28, on the Syrian Golan, because we believe that its essential aspect is linked to the illicit nature of the acquisition of territory by force. Article 2, paragraph 4, of the Charter of the United Nations prohibits the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity of a State. That is an imperative norm of international law.

At the same time, I wish to clarify the position of the Argentine delegation with respect to operative paragraph 6 of the draft resolution. Argentina’s vote does not necessarily prejudge the contents of that paragraph, particularly the reference to the line of 4 June 1967.

Mr. Sardenberg (Brazil): My delegation voted in favour of draft resolution A/58/L.28, entitled “The Syrian Golan”. That vote expresses the support of the Brazilian Government for the draft resolution’s driving force: the call for all parties to resume peace talks aimed at establishing a just and comprehensive peace in the Middle East. Nonetheless, regarding operative paragraph 6, I should stress the Brazilian Government’s position that the border between Israel and Syria is a matter of negotiation between the two parties on the basis of the parameters established by Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973).

Mr. Carnelos (Italy): I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union. The acceding countries, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia, the associated countries, Bulgaria and Romania and the European Free Trade Association country belonging to the European Economic Area, Iceland, align themselves with this explanation of vote on the draft resolution just adopted.

I should like to explain my country’s vote on draft resolution A/58/L.28, entitled “The Syrian Golan”. The European Union is deeply concerned about the continued deterioration of the situation in the Middle East. The current spiral of violence must cease. There can be no military solution to the Middle East conflict. A just, lasting and comprehensive settlement of the situation in the Middle East — including on the Syrian and Lebanese tracks — must be based on Security Council resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973), 1397 (2002) and 1515 (2003); on the Madrid terms of reference, in particular the principle of land for peace; and on the implementation of the road map and all existing agreements between the parties. We shall continue to work relentlessly with the regional parties and within the Quartet towards that goal.

The European Union also wishes to point out that a final peace settlement will not be complete if it fails to take into account the Israeli-Syrian and Israeli-Lebanese aspects. Negotiations should resume as soon as possible with the aim of reaching an agreement. In that regard, the European Union welcomes the Arab peace initiative endorsed at the Arab League Summit in Beirut, which offers the prospect of a comprehensive peace settlement for the whole Middle East region.

We believe that the draft resolution on the Syrian Golan contains geographical references that could undermine the process of bilateral negotiation. For that reason, as in previous years, the European Union abstained from voting on the draft resolution.

Mr. Maalouf (United States of America): The United States remains committed to a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East on all tracks. Our opposition to the General Assembly draft resolution regarding the Syrian Golan (A/58/L.28) stems from the perspective the draft presents regarding the situation in the Middle East: it implies that only Israel has obligations and responsibilities to make peace. This one-sided draft resolution is not consistent with Syria’s professed desire to resolve the Golan issue through negotiations, as mandated by Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973).

Syrian President Assad recently reaffirmed his support for a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East. Syrian actions must reflect those words. Regrettably, all too often they do not. Syrian support for terrorist groups dedicated to the perpetuation of the Arab-Israeli conflict exacerbates regional tensions and threatens regional peace. The impact of Syria in Lebanon is harmful to Lebanon’s prospects for full restoration of its sovereignty. Lebanon’s sovereignty has been mentioned in numerous past Security Council resolutions.

We urge Syria to address those issues and to do what is necessary for a resumption of the peace negotiations.

The Acting President: We have heard the last speaker in explanation of vote on the resolution just adopted.

I now give the floor to the representative of the Syrian Arab Republic.

Mr. Mekdad (Syrian Arab Republic) (spoke in Arabic ): My delegation would like to thank the delegations that voted in favour of draft resolution A/58/L.28 on the Syrian Arab Golan. The resolution reaffirms once again that occupation, together with the establishment of settlements and violation of the rights of peoples, must be rejected by everyone.

Through today’s vote, the General Assembly has sent Israel a clear message about the need to respect the principles of the Charter of the United Nations concerning the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by force, as well as the need to withdraw from all the Syrian Golan to the line of 4 June 1967. Israel’s decision to impose its jurisdiction, its laws and its administration on the occupied Syrian Golan is null and void and has no legality whatsoever. Israel’s continued occupation and de facto annexation of the Golan constitutes a stumbling block in the way of achieving a just, comprehensive and lasting peace in the region. Israel must heed and abide by the international community’s voice. A settlement can be achieved only if Israel withdraws from occupied territory to the line of 4 June 1967 and if it restores the legitimate rights of peoples, in particular the Palestinian people.

We listened to the statement just made by the representative of the United States of America. It was a highly regrettable statement because the United States is a sponsor of the peace process that began in Madrid, and a sponsor is expected to be impartial and just. But to be biased and blindly unfair, as the United States has been, is completely unacceptable.

As shown in the statement made yesterday by its President, Mr. Bashar Al-Assad, Syria is and always has been sincere regarding its commitments to the international community. The United States is the one most familiar with the commitments and agreements that Syria has signed with the United States through negotiations sponsored by the United States in which Syria committed itself to a just and lasting settlement. What we heard from the representative of the United States was a false and distorted statement that twisted reality. Introducing a foreign issue into the item and the draft resolution under discussion is absurd and deserves no comment. The Syrian presence in Lebanon, which is not the subject of our discussion today, is based on Lebanon’s request on relevant agreements. Syria wants Lebanon to enjoy its full sovereignty and independence, and this has constantly been reaffirmed by Syria. The interjection of this issue by the representative of the United States of America for personal reasons, I suspect, is absolutely unacceptable. I invite the United States delegation to think over what its representative said so irresponsibly before the General Assembly.

The Acting President: I have been informed that it would be advisable to keep items 37 and 38 open in the agenda of the fifty-eighth session. Therefore, we have thus concluded this stage of our consideration of agenda items 37 and 38.

Mr. Diab (Lebanon) (spoke in Arabic): I was obliged to ask for the floor to comment on what was said by the representative of the United States. We would like to express our regret regarding the irresponsible remarks of the United States representative. His remarks have, moreover, nothing to do with the question under consideration, that is, the Syrian Golan occupied by Israel since 1967, in contravention of General Assembly and Security Council resolutions.

I would like to reiterate that Syrian-Lebanese relations are governed by friendly ties and good-neighbourly relations. The presence of Syria in Lebanon is based on agreements concluded between Syria and Lebanon. We urge the representative of the United States to give thought to the irresponsible remarks he made because they are rejected.

/...

The meeting rose at 11.45 a.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.



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