Question of Palestine home
19 October 2000
th plenary meeting
Thursday, 19 October 2000, 10 a.m.
The meeting was called to order at 10 a.m.
Agenda item 11
Report of the Security Council
Mr. Nejad Hosseinian
(Islamic Republic of Iran): ...
The United Nations involvement and the sustained political support of the Security Council proved extremely useful in dealing with the inter-Tajik conflicts. They are exactly what have been lacking with regard to the crisis in the Middle East. It is very unfortunate that, even in the face of the provocations and excessive use of force by the Israeli forces against the defenceless Palestinian civilians, which clearly jeopardized peace and security in the Middle East, a big effort was made to hold the Council back from looking into the issue. Despite the request made by several regional groups, it took a very long time to overcome the opposition to the holding of a public meeting on the Palestinian question.
It was equally unfortunate that the right of non-members to participate in the debate in the public meeting on the issue was questioned and disputed. We regret that some tried hard to prevent the general membership of the United Nations simply expressing their opinions, expectations, frustrations and even anger when the world community is incapable of protecting civilians from the cruelty of a well-armed army of occupation. While there is general agreement that the current working methods of the Council are inappropriate, and some significant provisional agreements have been reached in the Working Group in an effort to make the Council more transparent, democratic and accessible to non-members, it is distressing to witness such attempts to further restrict the holding of public meetings and preclude non-members from speaking in the Council.
More broadly speaking, the way in which the Security Council has dealt with the situation in the Middle East over the past several decades is a manifestation of the inadequacy and inappropriateness of its working methods, especially those allowing the exercise of the veto. Many times in the past the Security Council has been called upon to shoulder its primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security by putting an end to the inhuman, aggressive acts of the Israeli regime. But, regrettably, the exercise, or threat of the exercise, of the veto has frequently paralysed the Council and prevented it from discharging its constitutional responsibility on such a crucial issue.
The mere existence of the right of veto prevented the Council from dealing effectively with, among others, the crises in Kosovo and the Palestinian occupied territories last year and this year. The position of my delegation on the issue of the veto has been spelled out in the position of the Non-Aligned Movement, and we hope that the Working Group on Security Council Reform will finally reach agreement on curtailing the right of veto, with a view to its final elimination.
spoke in Arabic
Secondly, the Council continues to follow a closed and non-transparent approach that cannot be redressed through the efforts of any single party to consider situations affecting international peace and security. Yet we find it engaged for days considering requests submitted by a number of States — not just one State — to convene a formal meeting intended to address an issue that the entire world — but perhaps not the Security Council — recognizes as having a direct impact on international security. I am referring to the situation in the Palestinian territories. The Council met for hours in many meetings trying to agree on a question involving a guaranteed right of all Member States under the Charter. It finally emerged with a formula that allows some of its members to control the final format of its meeting in a very politicized manner, for which we see no place under the rules and rights enshrined in the Constitution of all Member States: the Charter.
Agenda item 31
Elimination of coercive economic measures as a means of political and economic compulsion
Report of the Secretary-General
(A/55/300 and Add.1 and Add.2)
spoke in Arabic
The use of coercive measures as a means of political and economic pressure, whether undertaken unilaterally or under the auspices of multilateral organizations, constitutes a genuine threat to international peace and security. It also deprives peoples of their fundamental rights. The hardships suffered by the Palestinian people after the embargo imposed on their towns and villages by the Zionist entity, the suffering of the Cuban people that has now gone on for over 40 years, the hardships suffered by the people of Yugoslavia, the suffering of the people of Libya in the last eight years and the suffering experienced by the Iraqi people for the last 10 years all illustrate clearly that such measures are a flagrant violation of fundamental human rights and the principles of international law and international humanitarian law.
spoke in Arabic
Iraq is trying to divide the Arabs. We have promised to support Libya in its just cause so as to preserve Arab unity. The same is true of our Palestinian brothers. However, there are instructions being sent from Israel to Iraq not to raise questions that may sow discord.
The meeting rose at 1.25 p.m.