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        General Assembly
19 September 2006

Official Records

General Assembly
Sixty-first session
11th plenary meeting
Tuesday, 19 September 2006, 3 p.m.

New York

President:Ms. Al-Khalifa .................................................................................(Bahrain)

The meeting was called to order at 3.15 p.m.


The President: On behalf of the General Assembly, I have the honour to welcome to the United Nations Her Excellency Mrs. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, President of the Republic of Liberia, and to invite her to address the Assembly.

President Johnson-Sirleaf: ...


While we are enjoying a semblance of peace, we are particularly concerned about conflicts in other parts of the world. Of notable concern is the protracted crisis in the Middle East, which continues to create a state of restlessness and threatens world peace and security. From our experience, we have learned that no matter how protracted a conflict, the parties must sit around the table to iron out their differences and make peace. Both the Israeli and the Palestinian authorities owe their respective peoples, and the rest of us in the world, an obligation to break out of their cocoon of pride to resolve their differences harmoniously. We call for the active engagement of the United Nations in the peaceful and amicable resolution of the Middle East crisis.


The President (spoke in Arabic ): On behalf of the General Assembly, I have the honour to welcome to the United Nations His Majesty King Abdullah Bin Al Hussein, King of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, and to invite him to address the Assembly.

King Abdullah Bin Al Hussein : ...


I come before the Assembly today with a deep sense of urgency. Never has it been more important for the world community to act decisively for peace in my region. The recent crisis in the Middle East is a crisis for all nations. There can be no just global order when aggression and occupation are permitted to take the place of international law. When these occur in a region as strategic as the Middle East, the shockwaves run worldwide. Our young people are asking, where is the justice, where is the will, of the global community? We must answer them by establishing a lasting peace based on the international legality that we have pledged to uphold.

That means a new focus on the core problem. The region’s contemporary crises are outgrowths of a central grievance felt throughout the Middle East and, indeed, the world. That grievance, plain and simple, is Israeli occupation and the denial, over decades, of Palestinian rights. Until we end that wrong, conflict will breed more conflict, year after year.

The Middle East conflict has repeatedly come before this institution. And the United Nations position has been repeatedly articulated in resolutions condemning aggression and occupation, affirming Palestinian self-determination and supporting a process for peace. Yet, each year without progress has brought us another crisis, more suffering and more division. It is time to take a better path.

We must, of course, respond immediately to help those who suffer the terrible destruction of conflict. In Lebanon we must ensure that the Government can extend its sovereignty and control over all Lebanese territory. The Arab world and the international community must make every effort and must support reconstruction and development. Those are vital measures; but in the Middle East they are only partial measures.

We can solve the Arab-Israeli conflict only by addressing the issue at its core: the restoration of internationally recognized Palestinian rights. In 2002, the 22 Arab States — agreeing unanimously — led the way with a breakthrough peace proposal. Our vision and our commitment is a viable and independent Palestinian State living side by side with a secure Israel. Under the Arab peace initiative, Israel’s security would be guaranteed and the occupation of Palestine would end, in accordance with United Nations resolutions.

Events show clearly that there can be no unilateral solution to the conflict. There must be a genuine partnership among all parties, in the context of international legality and justice.


The Acting President : On behalf of the General Assembly, I have the honour to welcome to the United Nations His Excellency Mr. Tassos Papadopoulos, President of the Republic of Cyprus, and to invite him to address the Assembly.

President Papadopoulos: ...


In parallel to the Lebanese crisis, the world continues to witness the deterioration of the situation in the occupied Palestinian territories, with a heavy civilian toll and worsening humanitarian conditions. A year after the positive prospects created by Israeli disengagement from Gaza, the current crises serve as a reminder of the urgent need for a new strategy that would lead to a comprehensive and lasting settlement of all facets of the Middle East question on the basis of relevant United Nations resolutions. In that respect, it is imperative to urgently revert to the implementation of international agreements, including the road map, providing for the creation of a viable Palestinian State that will peacefully coexist side by side with Israel within agreed borders.


The Acting President : On behalf of the General Assembly, I have the honour to welcome to the United Nations Her Excellency Mrs. Vaira Vike-Freiberga, President of the Republic of Latvia, and to invite her to address the Assembly.

President Vike-Freiberga ( spoke in French): ...


The most recent example of the need for a concerted peacekeeping effort is the tragic sequence of events in Israel and Lebanon this past summer. Peacekeeping can facilitate solutions, but not impose them. In Iraq and in Afghanistan, as well as in the continuing conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians, there will be no durable peace until all parties renounce the use of violence to achieve political aims. A long-lasting settlement requires the political will of all parties in the region to negotiate a viable compromise in good faith, where a secure State of Israel coexists side by side with an independent State of Palestine.


The Acting President: On behalf of the General Assembly, I have the honour to welcome to the United Nations His Excellency Mr. Elías Antonio Saca González, President of the Republic of El Salvador, and to invite him to address the Assembly.

President Saca González (spoke in Spanish ): ...


I have come to this rostrum to speak out in favour of peace and security in the Middle East, as well as dialogue and understanding, so that we can find timely and sustainable political and diplomatic solutions that support our belief in the right of the Israeli and Palestinian peoples to live in peace within secure and internationally recognized borders.

We welcome adoption of resolution 1697 (2006) on 31 July and resolution 1701 (2006) on 11 August by the Security Council and call for compliance with those resolutions as they make possible a cessation of hostilities. This should represent the beginning of a new phase in finding a negotiated political solution to the conflict in Lebanon and in the Middle East.

We are fully convinced that one of the keys to progress towards peace in the Middle East is the disarmament of all armed groups operating outside the law and Government control in the region, as well as the exercise by Governments of full sovereignty over their territories. Here, we believe that it is essential for the United Nations, in particular the Security Council, to continue to play a proactive and decisive role in finding a lasting, comprehensive and sustainable solution in the Middle East and to redirect the peace process.

After a careful analysis of the international situation, and of the Middle East in particular, my Government made the decision to move its ambassador from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv. We hope that this will make a contribution to promoting the peace process in the region and serve as an expression of our commitment and respect for compliance with United Nations resolutions.

We do hope that this decision, in addition to making a concrete contribution to peace in the Middle East, will also help to strengthen friendship and understanding between my country and Israel. We also wish to express our feelings of solidarity and friendship to the Palestinian people. They can rely on El Salvador to continue to seek peace, security and well-being for the Palestinian people.


The President: On behalf of the General Assembly, I have the honour to welcome to the United Nations His Excellency Mr. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and to invite him to address the Assembly.

President Ahmadinejad ( spoke in Farsi; English text provided by the delegation ): ...


Let us consider the situation in Palestine. The roots of the Palestinian problem go back to the Second World War. Under the pretext of protecting some of the survivors of that war, the land of Palestine was occupied through war and aggression, resulting in the displacement of millions of its inhabitants. It was placed under the control of some of the survivors of the war, who brought even larger population groups from elsewhere in the world who had not even been affected by the Second World War. A Government was established in the territory of others with a population collected from throughout the world at the cost of driving millions of the rightful inhabitants of the land into diaspora and homelessness.

That is a great tragedy with hardly any precedent in history. Refugees continue to live in temporary refugee camps, and many have died while still hoping one day to return to their land. Can any logic, law or legal reasoning justify this tragedy? Would any Member of the United Nations accept such a tragedy if it occurred in its own homeland?

The pretexts for the creation of the regime occupying Al-Quds al-Sharif are so weak that its supporters want to silence any voice that tries merely to speak about them, as they are concerned that shedding light on the facts would undermine the raison d’être of the regime — as, indeed, it has done. The tragedy did not end with the establishment of a regime on the territory of others. Regrettably, from its inception, that regime has been a constant source of threat and insecurity in the Middle East region — waging war, spilling blood and impeding the progress of countries in the region. It has also been used by some Powers as an instrument of division, coercion and pressure on the people of the region.

Reference to those historical realities may cause some disquiet among supporters of that regime. But these are simple facts, not myths. History has unfolded before our eyes. Worse still is the unwarranted blanket support provided to the regime. We need only watch what is happening in the Palestinian land. People are being bombarded in their own homes and their children murdered in their own streets and alleys. But no authority, not even the Security Council, can afford them any support or protection. Why?

Meanwhile, a Government has been formed democratically and through the free choice of the electorate in a part of the Palestinian territory. But instead of receiving the support of the so-called champions of democracy, its ministers and members of parliament have been illegally abducted and incarcerated in full view of the international community.

What council or international organization is standing up to protect this brutally besieged Government? Why cannot the Security Council take any steps?


The President (spoke in Arabic ): On behalf of the General Assembly, I have the honour to welcome to the United Nations His Excellency Mr. Omer Hassan Al-Bashir, President of the Republic of the Sudan, and to invite him to address the Assembly.

President Al-Bashir (spoke in Arabic ): ...


The question of Palestine is a story that embodies the suffering of a people that has been deprived of its political and economic rights. The Israeli occupation continues to be a heavy burden on the legitimate Palestinian dreams to bring about freedom and development. The international community must force Israel to fulfil the obligations it has undertaken, including the road map, halting construction of the separation wall, and heeding the Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice issued in July 2004. This was adopted by the General Assembly at its tenth emergency session, enabling the Palestinian people to exercise its right to self-determination and to establish an independent State, with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital.

We renew our full support to the Palestinian people and its elected institutions. We call on the international community to respect the choices made by the Palestinian people and to shoulder its responsibilities vis-à-vis the Palestinian Government — which has come about through free and fair elections — to lift the embargo imposed against it and to support it. We call upon the international community to pressure Israel to halt its ongoing aggression against the Gaza Strip and release the abducted Palestinian ministers and parliamentarians.

The Israeli aggression against Lebanon last August, which targeted innocent civilians — women and children — has shaken the world’s conscience. This is a flagrant violation of international humanitarian law and agreements. We would like to express our full solidarity with the people and the Government of Lebanon and with the resistance. We commend their steadfastness in the face of this flagrant aggression, and we hold Israel responsible for the destruction and the sabotage of brotherly Lebanon. We call for the establishment of an international commission to investigate the war crimes perpetrated by Israel, and we call also on international, regional and volunteer organizations to intensify their emergency efforts to provide assistance to the victims.

We have always been convinced that the volatility of the situation in the Middle East and the ongoing tensions are due to the Israeli occupation, and that a comprehensive settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict and the advent of peace in the region cannot be achieved unless Israel withdraws completely from all the territories occupied since 1967, including the occupied Syrian Golan and the Shab’a farms.

We wish to emphasize in that context the importance of making the Middle East a zone free of weapons of mass destruction, with no exceptions, in order to bring about security and stability, which would benefit all the peoples of the region.


The meeting rose at 9.20 p.m.

This record contains the text of speeches delivered in English and of the interpretation of speeches delivered in the other languages. Corrections should be submitted to the original languages only. They should be incorporated in a copy of the record and sent under the signature of a member of the delegation concerned to the Chief of the Verbatim Reporting Service, room C-154A. Corrections will be issued after the end of the session in a consolidated corrigendum.

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