Question of Palestine home
5 November 1997
Wednesday, 5 November 1997, 10 a.m.
Mr. Nkgowe .........................(Botswana)
The meeting was called to order at 10.15 a.m.
Agenda items 62 to 83
Introduction and consideration of draft resolutions submitted under all items
: I now call on the representative of Algeria to introduce draft resolution A/C.1/52/L.36.
(Algeria) (interpretation from French): Once again I have the honour this year to introduce in the First Committee the draft resolution entitled “Strengthening of security and cooperation in the Mediterranean region”, contained in document A/C.1/52/L.36, on behalf of the following sponsors: Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Greece,Ireland, Italy, Jordan, the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Luxembourg, Malta, Mauritania, Monaco, Morocco, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Tunisia, Turkey and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
The introduction by the sponsors of this draft resolution again this year thus reflects our support for the shared desire of the States of the Mediterranean Basin and European States to turn our region into a zone of peace, security and cooperation and thus to enable the Mediterranean to assume its rightful place as a lake of peace.
In recent years, the Mediterranean countries have entered into a process of partnership by intensifying joint efforts to consolidate peace and security in the region and lay the foundations for the multifaceted cooperation that is essential for the prosperity and stability of the countries of the entire Mediterranean region. It should be emphasized that after the Barcelona Euro-Mediterranean Conference in 1995, which laid the foundations for new relations between the two shores of the Mediterranean, the second Euro-Mediterranean Conference held in April 1997 in Valetta, Malta, gave us the opportunity calmly to evaluate this process and give political impetus to the dynamics of this partnership.
In the context of efforts made in the framework of dialogue between the two shores, I should also like to mention the ministerial meeting of the Mediterranean Forum, held in Algiers in July 1997. This year’s draft resolution is intended to be more concise, less repetitious and more focused on the essential aspects of security and cooperation in the Mediterranean. It does not fundamentally differ from resolutions adopted at previous sessions, particularly resolution 51/50, adopted by consensus in December 1996, which dealt with the same item.
In the preamble the draft covers all the initiatives that have been undertaken by the countries of the region in order to consolidate peace, security and cooperation. It goes on to reaffirm the responsibilities of all States to contribute to the stability and prosperity of the Mediterranean region and their commitment to respect the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations. The draft also emphasizes the indivisibility of security in the region.
In its operative part the draft resolution reaffirms the fundamental principles contained in paragraphs 1 and 2, and in paragraph 4 emphasizes the need to eliminate the economic and social disparities between the countries of the Mediterranean, as well as to promote mutual respect and greater understanding among cultures, in order to enhance peace, security and cooperation between the countries of the region.
On disarmament matters, the draft calls upon all States in the region that have not yet done so to adhere to all the multilaterally negotiated legal instruments related to the field of disarmament and non-proliferation. Likewise, States are encouraged to promote openness and transparency on all military matters. Finally, all States of the region are invited to address, through various forms of cooperation, terrorism, international crime and illicit drug production and trafficking, as factors jeopardizing friendly relations between States, hindering the development of international cooperation, and, above all, resulting in the destruction of human rights, fundamental freedoms and the democratic basis of pluralistic society.
As at previous sessions, the sponsors are confident that draft resolution A/C.1/52/L.36 will enjoy the support of all the members of the Committee and will be adopted without a vote.
(Israel): I wish to make a few comments on draft resolution A/C.1/52/L.36, which has just been introduced by the representative of Algeria.
The draft resolution addresses itself to an important issue. Israel certainly attaches great value to it, as it brings together all the Mediterranean countries and contains very positive provisions with a view to enhancing security and promoting economic and social development and cooperation. It recognizes the responsibility of all States to contribute to stability and prosperity in the Mediterranean region, and reaffirms, inter alia, that security in the Mediterranean is closely linked to European security.
On these and other aspects of a Euro-Mediterranean partnership, Israel views the Barcelona process as a means not only to strengthen cooperation and understanding between the countries of Europe and the Mediterranean, but also to buttress efforts to promote conflict-resolution, peace and dialogue among the Mediterranean countries and nations themselves. We were therefore disappointed that the sponsors of this draft resolution have elected to delete the preambular paragraph of last year’s draft resolution, which became resolution 51/50, noting the peace process in the Middle East and its contribution to
“achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the region and therefore to promoting confidence-building measures and good-neighbourly spirit among the countries of the area”.
Israel fails to see the logic behind this consistent and persistent policy of erasing, throughout this Committee’s resolutions, any reference to the Middle East peace process and to multilateral, regional cooperation.
Do some of the sponsors of this draft resolution wish to insert instead provisions advocating hatred and hostility among regional parties? What, then, is the purpose of such conduct, which negates the building of trust and the advancement of understanding and cooperation among countries and nations?
The peace treaties between Israel and its neighbours, Egypt and Jordan, and the agreements signed with the Palestinians represent a historic breakthrough in political, economic and social terms, which has an immense effect not only on the Middle East and the Mediterranean, but well beyond.
Deleted paragraphs cannot and will not change realities, but they do send a clear signal of this Committee's negative attitude towards these crucial and positive developments. Such a move on the Committee's part is a step backwards which rewards those who insist on perpetuating hostilities and deepening disagreements that could and should be resolved through peaceful means.
Israel regrets that the sponsors of the draft resolution have assumed the responsibility of deleting the provision that deals with the peace process in the Middle East. My delegation calls upon the sponsors to reconsider its contents with a view to maintaining consensus on such an important issue.
The meeting rose at 11.15 a.m.