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


Fifty-ninth General Assembly
Plenary
7th & 8th Meetings (AM & PM)
GA/10261
23 September 2004

PRESIDENT OF CYPRUS URGES ASSEMBLY TO EVALUATE MILLENNIUM TARGETS,
ASSESS PROGRESS IN LAST SESSION BEFORE 2005 REVIEW
More Than 30 Speakers, Address United Nations
Reform, Globalization, Threat Posed by International Terrorism

...

Background

The General Assembly met this morning to continue its general debate.

Statements

ABDOULAYE WADE, President of Senegal, ... Turning to the people of Palestine who had been denied sovereignty, he said the refusal of Israel to follow the international community’s call to stop building the wall imperilled international legality.  He appealed to the Quartet to persevere and to continue its dialogue to find a lasting solution to that problem.  Senegal would continue to support the Palestinian people, who had suffered too long.  He called for a special meeting on the situation.  The establishment of a sovereign Palestinian state, living side by side with Israel, had been endorsed by the Non-Aligned Movement, the Organization of the Islamic Conference and the African Union.

...

SILVAN SHALOM, Deputy Prime Minster and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Israel, ...

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He called on the United Nations to refocus its priorities, saying that the Assembly should “end its obsession with Israel” and ensure that the Organization’s resources were allocated more equally and effectively.  The United Nations also needed to provide solutions to the challenges of hunger and poverty, disease and weapons proliferation, among others.  He called on the Assembly to address the involvement of Iran and Syria in terrorism, and Syria’s continued occupation of Lebanon.  He asked for practical measures to help nations cut off financial and political lifelines to terror.  In the last year alone, 150 Israelis had been killed and thousands injured in more than 40 separate suicide bombings and attacks.  Palestinian terrorism was the key reason that peace in the Middle East had not yet become a reality.  The Road Map had recognized that, calling in Phase One for sustained Palestinian action against terror, the dismantling of terrorist organizations and the end of incitement in schools and the media.  Sadly, he noted, the current Palestinian leadership refused to fulfil those fundamental obligations, preferring to blame Israel for its failures.

Israel was acting in both diplomatic and security arenas to deal with the failure of the Palestinian leadership, he said.  Israel had accepted the Road Map in 2003 and remained committed to its realization.  Currently, however, there was no responsible Palestinian partner ready to join in that effort.  Israel was now planning to leave the Gaza Strip, and was in contact with the donor community and the World Bank in an effort to rebuild Gaza in the wake of Israel’s withdrawal.  On the security front, Israel was building a security fence to stop the unchecked wave of Palestinian attacks.  “The fence does not take lives”, he said, “it saves them.  Where there is a fence, there is no terror”.  The modified route of the fence reflected the necessary balance between the security of Israeli citizens and the welfare of the Palestinian population.  By helping to take terrorism out of the equation, the fence contributed to the prospect of a return to negotiations and the realization of the Road Map.

Ultimately, contact and dialogue, based on mutual respect for humanity, was necessary to resolve the conflict in the Middle East.  Israel was ready for such contact and would talk to any leadership, from Syria, to Lebanon, or the Palestinians, who come to the table without terror and with a genuine intention to finding acceptable solutions to differences.

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ALHAJI YAHYA JAMMEH, President of the Gambia, ...

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He went on to say that because of the human characteristics of greed and intolerance, human life had been “relegated to nothing”.  As long as certain issues were not addressed, there could not be peace and terror would continue.  There should be a collective response to end the war in Iraq, and even if a MemberState disapproved of the war, it should not say that it would not help.  That war was a human tragedy, and it was not in the interest of the human race to let it continue.  Two wrongs could not make a right and the entire human race carried the responsibility to help end the suffering of the Iraqi people and the Palestinian children.

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LAWRENCE GONZI, Prime Minister of Malta, ...

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Despite progress in some of those problems, he said that there was a bewildering array of areas in which no visible progress could be registered, despite the efforts of tens of thousands working within the United Nations system.  Television screens showed continuing suffering in Darfur, Iraq and the Israeli and Palestinian areas.  He hoped the High-level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change would produce bold recommendations that would be acted on by Member States.  Similarly, it was high time for dramatic results to emerge, on an institutional level, from the High-Level Meeting on the five-year review of the Millennium Declaration.

In that context, urgent remedies needed to be found for the weakness of the Security Council –- limited means of addressing development issues, inequitable distribution of authority among regions and under-representation of the great majority of Member States.  In addition, the General Assembly needed to intensify efforts to strengthen its universality while fighting against the associated inefficiency.  Other organs and specialized agencies needed to harmonize their operations in the interest of sustainable social and economic development.

He urged the European Union and its Mideast Quartet partners to remain steadfast in their insistence on the Road Map’s path to peace in that region.  In support of its goals, he described the Union’s objectives in promoting, through partnership, a zone of peace, prosperity and progress in the Mediterranean and the Middle East, along with similar programmes for the Balkans.  He said that such frameworks of regional stability had contributed to Libya’s renunciation of its weapons of mass destruction programme.

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ABDULLAH GÜL, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Turkey, ...

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The Middle East problem and the situations in Iraq and Afghanistan, he continued, stood as the major conflicts compounding instability in the world and leading to increasing serious consequences.  Turkey would support every effort initiated and coordinated regarding the Israeli-Palestinian problem, and had joined the call made by the Quartet yesterday.  The resumption of the negotiating process between the two parties should remain the central objective of the current efforts, he said, though any settlement would not be complete without progress in all tracks, including the Syria and Lebanese ones.  ...

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BENITA FERRERO-WALDNER, Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs of Austria, ...

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Pointing out that multilateralism was already at work in the Middle East in the form of the Road Map, she voiced her support for that plan, saying it remained the “only way forward” to a resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict.  ...

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SERGEY LAVROV, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, ...

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In today’s increasingly interdependent world, counter-terrorism efforts could only be considered in light of other pressing issues, especially the settlement of conflicts.  In that respect, the General Assembly should support the Middle East settlement on the basis of commitments by the parties under the Road Map. ...

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JACK STRAW, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs of the United Kingdom, ...

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He stressed that while frustrations remained, particularly over efforts to find a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict based on the Road Map, the United Nations had shown the will to make collective action work.  Still, much remained to be done, chiefly in the search to come up with ways to tackle better the dramatically changing nature of threats to international peace and security.  Today, the greatest threats to security often came not from other functioning sovereign States but from terrorist organizations, failing States and man-made shocks to the environment like climate change, which could exacerbate State failure and breed internal instability.

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BRIAN COWEN, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ireland, ...

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Turning to the Middle East, he said the root cause of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was a struggle over land, which should be shared by agreement arrived at through negotiation between the parties to the conflict.  The continuing unilateral expansion of settlements and the construction and maintenance of the separation barrier on the West Bank would make the conflict more difficult to resolve.  Ireland called on the international community, particularly Israel’s friends, to send that clear and unambiguous message to both the Government and the people of Israel.  Israel and the Palestinian Authority were urged to cooperate closely with the Quartet, to ensure that the withdrawal from Gaza was accompanied by the full and effective assumption by the Palestinian Authority of its responsibilities in the territory, and the full implementation of the Road Map.

MUSTAFA OSMAN ISMAIL, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Sudan, ...

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He said Sudan’s experience showed the urgent need for Security Council reform.  The veto, in particular, represented a great imbalance among regions.  He condemned terrorism, but warned that terrorism must not be confused with other phenomena.  Attention must be paid to the gap between rich and poor countries, which was increasing and would lead to total catastrophe.  Political will was needed to meet the Millennium Development Goals, and to renew the hope of millions through education, and access to drinking water and other necessities.  In addition, international action was needed to stop the many crimes of Israel against the Palestinians and bring about a just peace through Israeli withdrawal from Palestinian land.  He also affirmed the right to self-determination of the Iraqi people, which must, he said, be asserted through free elections, with the assistance of the international community.

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Sheikh MOHAMMED SABAH AL-SALEM AL-SABAH, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Kuwait, ...

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He went on to say that Kuwait was concerned by the plight of the Palestinian people at the hands of Israeli military, in contravention of international law.  All efforts aimed at bringing the matter to a negotiated conclusion, including implementing the Road Map peace plan, had run into Israeli intransigence.  Kuwait praised the resistance of the Palestinian people and called upon Israel to adhere to and implement relevant Security Council resolutions aimed at securing a two-State solution to the dispute.  ...

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