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        General Assembly
30 September 1999

Official Records

General Assembly
Fifty-fourth Session
18th plenary meeting
Thursday, 30 September 1999, 10.10 a.m.
New York

President: Mr. Gurirab ........................................... (Namibia)

Agenda item 9

General debate
The Acting President (spoke in Russian): The Assembly will first hear an address by the Prime Minister and Minister of Finance and Foreign Affairs of Belize.

Mr. Musa (Belize): ...


We do not fail to recognize and applaud the tremendous success of the United Nations in the
eradication of colonialism and occupation. How could we fail to do so, when the very existence of Belize as an independent State is due in no small part to the support of the United Nations? How could we fail to do so, when we recall the role of the United Nations in the independence of Namibia, whose Foreign Minister presides over our Assembly, or when we recall the work of the Fourth Committee in brokering the independence of so many of our present members? But the job is not over till it is over, not until all peoples of the world are guaranteed their right to self-determination and independence in peace and security. In this context, we look forward to welcoming Palestine as a full Member of the United Nations at the millennium summit and to achieving peace and security for all the peoples of that region.


The Acting President (spoke in Russian): I now call on the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Qatar, His Excellency Sheik Hamad bin Jassem bin Jabr Al-Thani.

Sheik Al-Thani (Qatar) (spoke in Arabic): ...


Notwithstanding the positive indications and trends, which we welcome and hope will be strengthened, the general regional situation is still, to our great regret, far removed from the comprehensive peace, the lasting stability and the modes of cooperation, development and progress that we seek and desire for our region. The Iraqi crisis and its continuous repercussions on security and stability in the Gulf and the Middle East, and the cruel suffering of the fraternal Iraqi people, are all elements that cause great concern and prompt us to do our utmost in order to put an end to this crisis. We believe it is high time that we overcame the Iraqi crisis and found effective solutions to it so that the sanctions imposed against Iraq can be lifted and the cruel suffering of its peoples can be terminated. We have always resorted to diplomatic solutions, in accordance with international resolutions, in order to ensure the preservation of the territorial integrity and national unity of Iraq and to spare it and the entire region further dangers and agony.

There naturally remains the essential question, which in our view has been the main source of tension and crises in our region for more than half a century, and that is the question of Palestine and the Arab-Israeli conflict. I must say that we in the State of Qatar, together with our Arab brothers, have committed ourselves to peace as a permanent strategic option, a commitment which still stands. However, the peace process has regrettably failed to attain its envisaged results. Rather, this process has suffered setbacks over the past years, the responsibility for which, in our view, lies with the former Israeli Government, which opted to retreat from its commitments and pursued policies that prevented any progress in the peace process and in negotiations on its various tracks.

We welcome the changes that have taken place in the Israeli Government as a result of the recent general elections and in light of the formation of the new Government under the leadership of Mr. Ehud Barak and his stated intention to pursue peace more earnestly. However, we feel that such gestures must be coupled with concrete steps that would demonstrate good faith on the Israeli side and sincere readiness to meet its obligations by implementing the agreements concluded on all tracks during the previous stages of the negotiations, and to seek a resumption of the negotiations on the Syrian and Lebanese tracks as soon as possible, on the basis of the resolutions of international legitimacy and the principle of land for peace.

Perhaps it suffices here to recall the recent affirmation by His Highness, Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, the Emir of the State of Qatar, in explaining my country's firm position on this matter. In our view, there can be no solution to this conflict nor peace in the Middle East except through a permanent, just and comprehensive settlement, based on the established principles that form the foundations of the peace process. This means the implementation of Security Council resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973) and 425 (1978); full Israeli withdrawal from the occupied Syrian Golan Heights to the border of 4 June 1967 and from southern Lebanon and its western Bekaa valley, to the internationally recognized borders, and the regaining by the Palestinian people of their legitimate national and political rights, foremost among which is their natural right to self-determination and to the establishment of their independent State, with Jerusalem as its capital: the city of peace, the land of tolerance and the cradle of divine revelations, where religions have always coexisted in harmony and concord.

We must express concern over the continued presence of weapons of mass destruction in the region, especially nuclear weapons that are available exclusively to one side, the Israeli side. In our view, this constitutes a strategic imbalance and a threat to peace and security. Therefore, we believe in the need for the complete elimination of weapons of mass destruction from our region, as an integral and complementary part of the peace process. We also call on Israel to accede to the international treaties providing for the limitation and nonproliferation of such weapons.

Peace, in our view, cannot be one-sided, nor can its benefits accrue exclusively on one side. Therefore, we sincerely look forward to the day when a balanced, just, comprehensive and genuine peace reigns in our region. Then we can speak of such advantages and benefits of peace as security, cooperation, stability, prosperity and progress for all the States and peoples in our region without exception.

We look forward to that day because we truly yearn to see a new Middle East, which enters the new millennium in a climate of peace, security and democracy; a climate in which we all respect pluralism of opinions, diversity of approaches and the right of peoples and States to self-determination, to better living standards and to living in freedom, prosperity and dignity, in conformity with their lofty beliefs and values. This is one of the basic human rights we cherish. Our belief stems foremost from our profound belief in God Almighty and in His divine revelations with which He blessed all mankind.


The meeting rose at 1.05 p.m.

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