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


Fifty-ninth General Assembly
Plenary
13th & 14th Meetings (AM & PM)
GA/10264
28 September 2004


AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT, ECONOMIC MARGINALIZATION, ENVIRONMENTAL DEGRADATION
AMONG ISSUES RAISED BY NATIONAL LEADERS IN GENERAL ASSEMBLY DEBATE

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Statements

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HABIB BEN YAHIA, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Tunisia, called for the reorganization of international relations in accordance with a new vision, based on cooperation, solidarity, and coexistence among all peoples.  Tunisia had worked to materialize that vision as host of the Arab Summit, held in May 2004.  Following the Summit, the Arab States sent a clear message to the international community renewing their commitment to a just, comprehensive, and durable peace to settle the Arab-Israeli conflict on the basis of the Arab peace initiative, international legality, relevant Security Council resolutions, and implementation of the Road Map.

The escalation of the situation in the occupied Palestinian territories required prompt action by the international community to provide protection to the Palestinian people; lift the siege imposed on its legitimate leadership; put an end to settlements; and recognize the advisory opinion by the International Court of Justice, that declared illegal Israel’s building of the separation wall and called for its demolition.  That would provide conditions for the resumption of the peace process, allowing the Palestinian people to recover their rights and establish an independent State, as well as enable Syria and Lebanon to recover all their occupied territories.

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BIOSSEY KOKOU TOZOUN, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Togo, ...

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... On the Middle East, he said the escalation of violence was continuing, placing the notion of achieving any headway on the Palestinian-Israeli issue under threat.  Here, the diplomatic Quartet must do its utmost to ensure that both sides adhered to the dual and reciprocal initiatives outlined in the Road Map peace plan.

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FAROUK ASSAAD KADDOUMI, Head of the Political Department of the Palestine Liberation Organization, focused his remarks on the turbulent situation in the Middle East, stating that the occupation of Iraq was based on an unfounded pretext and had further damaged the already grave situation in the region.  He urged the United Nations to take necessary measures to ensure Iraq’s independence and sovereignty as soon as possible.

He accused Israel, the only nuclear power in the Middle East, of breaking moral and international laws with impunity in its policies and practices in occupied Palestinian and other Arab territories.  Citing daily assaults on Palestinian towns, the demolition of homes, targeted killings, and the use of disproportionate firepower, he said that Israel’s response to the proposed Road Map to peace were “acts of State terrorism”.  The Palestinians had embraced the Road Map, which was unanimously adopted by the Security Council, and hoped that the Quartet would renew its efforts to reach the destination of a final and comprehensive settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by 2005.

The disengagement plan for Gaza, proposed by Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was a further deviation from that destination, he said.  While Israel would leave the settlements, it would still control everything that entered and exited Gaza and would block the only route between Gaza and Egypt.  He quoted from the advisory opinion issued by the International Court of Justice declaring Israel’s construction of the separation wall to be illegal and stating that “the United Nations, especially the General Assembly and the Security Council, should consider what further action is required to bring to an end the illegal situation resulting from the construction of the wall and the associated regime, taking due account of the present Advisory Opinion”.  He appealed for the opinion of the Court to be heeded and action-oriented resolutions taken, which would help restore confidence in the United Nations and its Charter.

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FABIO BERARDI, Minister for Foreign and Political Affairs and Justice of San Marino, ...

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The political process outlined in the Road Map and backed by the international community still appeared to be the only viable solution to achieve the ultimate goal of peaceful coexistence of two States, Israel and Palestine. To that end, he hoped that such a process would soon resume.  He also supported the United Nations presence in Afghanistan, in view of the forthcoming presidential elections, and shared the hope that the positive process embarked upon by that country would continue.  Further, he deplored the new attacks against United Nations offices that took place there a few days ago.

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HAJAH MASNA, Special Envoy, Brunei Darussalam, acknowledged that the United Nations had achieved a lot since its establishment 59 years ago, especially in ensuring international peace and security and in creating a stable and prosperous world.  However, she said that the achievements made by the United Nations had been undermined by increasingly complex international developments.  Moreover, the Organization was still preoccupied with many unresolved issues, among them, the Palestinian conflict, terrorism, weapons of mass destruction, poverty, environmental degradation, and the spread of diseases.  All of those things, she said, demanded an effective response, which would ultimately define the relevance of the Organization.

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As the agenda for the fifty-ninth session was looked into, she said Member States should remain focused on the issues affecting the many innocent lives in Palestine.  The concerned parties must do all they could to prevent the situation from deteriorating.  ...

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