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Press Release
UNITED NATIONS
Department of Public Information · News Coverage Service · New York


Fifth-ninth General Assembly
Plenary
9th & 10th Meetings (AM & PM)
GA/10262
24 September 2004

‘IDYLLIC’ ISOLATION ALSO BANE OF OUR EXISTENCE, LEADERS OF SMALL ISLAND STATES
EMPHASIZE, AS GENERAL ASSEMBLY CONTINUES DEBATE
Hurricanes Have Hammered Home Long-standing Need
For Special, Differential Treatment for Beleaguered Nations, Delegates Told

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Background

The General Assembly met today to continue its general debate.

Statements

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BRANKO CRVENKOVSKI, President of The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, ...

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...  The Middle East continued to keep the world in suspense, and he supported the conviction that the Road Map was the only way to reach a solution for Palestine and Israel.

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SHAIKH MOHAMMED BIN MUBARAK AL-KHALIFA, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bahrain, ...

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He said that Israel continued to ignore international law and had increased its “oppressive measures” in the occupied territories against the Palestinian people.  Indeed, the ongoing construction of a so-called separation barrier in Gaza and the West Bank consolidated the occupation and settlements and extinguished hopes for an independent Palestinian State.  The international community must take a stand in the face of such actions, particularly in the wake of the recent advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and decision of the General Assembly condemning the wall’s construction.  The international community must use the opinion to pressure Israel to end its occupation of Palestinian and Arab lands, including the Syrian Golan Heights and the Lebanese Sheba Farms.

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GEORGE YEO, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Singapore, ...

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As the world was growing smaller, he added, a sense of interdependence grew, and problems such as global warming, epidemics and terrorism could only be overcome if everyone worked together.  The problem of Palestine, for example, could not be solved without the participation of the larger global community.

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KAMAL KHARRAZI, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Iran, ...

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The international community must also act resolutely regarding the existence and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, he added.  As the only victim in recent years, of their unbridled use, Iran felt strongly the absolute imperative to eradicate all such weapons, and to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons as an interim measure.  Disarmament and non-proliferation treaties must be applied in a universal, comprehensive and nondiscriminatory manner.  Thus, while insisting on its right to technology for peaceful purposes, Iran would leave no stone unturned in providing assurances of its peaceful intentions.  Moreover, the country had been at the forefront of efforts to establish a zone free from weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East, an initiative which had been systematically obstructed by Israel.  It was time for the international community to show its resolve and compel Israel to disarm.

Finally, lamenting the continued gross violations of human rights under the Israeli occupation, he reiterated that a durable peace in Palestine would only be possible if based on justice, the end of occupation, restoration of the Palestinian people’s inalienable rights, the right of return and the establishment of a State with Al-Quds al Sharif as its capital.  ...

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AHMED ABOUL GHEIT, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Egypt, ...

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He criticized the international community for applying “double standards” in addressing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction -- turning a blind eye to the continued stockpiling of nuclear capabilities by one party in the Middle East, while imposing a strict non-proliferation regime on other countries, among them, all the Arab States.  In addition, the continued suffering of the Palestinian people had been met with an “inexplicable international silence”, while Israel continued to build a separation wall on Palestinian lands, even though an advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice had declared the wall’s construction illegal.  Israel’s intended withdrawal from the Gaza Strip could be significant, but it must take place as an integral part of the Road Map.

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JAN PETERSEN, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Norway, ...

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He further appealed to Member States to support the Palestinian Authority.  A viable and well functioning Palestinian Authority was critical to a peaceful solution to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.  Palestinian leaders must contribute to a peaceful solution by implementing the reforms set out in the Road Map, and the Palestinian Authority had a clear responsibility to fight Palestinian terrorism.

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ABUBAKR A. AL-QIRBI, Minister for Foreign Affairs of YEMEN, ...

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Turning to the Arab-Israeli conflict, he said the United Nations had failed to put an end to the ongoing Israeli aggression against the Palestinian people and to Israel’s repeated threats to Arab countries.  Yemen’s position regarding the question of Palestine was based on the principles laid out in the Road Map and on the Arab peace initiative, which called for the establishment of a State of Palestine with full sovereignty over its territory and Jerusalem as its capital, Israel’s withdrawal from all Arab territories it occupied in June 1967, and the return of refugees to their homes.  Peace in the Middle East would be elusive as long as Israel was allowed to circumvent United Nations resolutions.  Yemen called on the Security Council to ensure the physical safety of Palestinian President Yasser Arafat and to provide protection against Israeli State-sponsored terrorism.

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