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


Fifty-fourth General Assembly
Plenary
18th Meeting (AM)
GA/9617
30 September 1999

SYRIA WARNS AGAINST SENDING PEACE NEGOTIATIONS ‘BACK TO SQUARE ONE’;
REPUBLIC OF KOREA URGES REUNIFICATION OF KOREAN PENINSULA


Syria's Foreign Minister, Farouk Al-Shara, told the General Assembly this morning that the Israeli Foreign Minister had carried the flag of the culture of peace in his statement yesterday, while fully ignoring the fact that the Israeli occupation was the main reason for the absence of peace.

As the Assembly moved into the eighth day of its general debate, the Syrian Foreign Minister said the culture of peace required ending Israeli occupation of all Arab territories; discontinuation of the destruction of Arab houses and settlement activities; and translation of statements about peace into action. If Syria's call for full Israeli withdrawal to the line of 4 June 1967, and for resumption of peace talks from the point at which they had been stopped, were called a precondition, as the Israeli Government had claimed, it would send the negotiations back to square one.

Commenting on Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, Hamad Bin Jassim Bin Jabr Al-Thani, Foreign Minister of Qatar, said the peace process had failed to attain the envisaged progress due to the policy of the former Israeli Government. While welcoming the new Israeli Government and the stated intent to preserve peace, he said that such gestures should be coupled with actual deeds. In addition, he stressed that nuclear weapons in the region, now exclusively available to Israel, constituted a strategic imbalance that should be eliminated.

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HAMAD BIN JASSIM BIN JABR AL-THANI, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Qatar, ... said
the peace process had failed to attain the envisaged progress as a result of the policy of the former Israeli Government. He welcomed the new Israeli Government and the stated intent to preserve peace. Such gestures should be coupled with actual deeds. Negotiations with Syria should be resumed on the basis of the principle of land for peace. There could be no other solution, than a permanent settlement based on the agreed principles and implementation of relevant Security Council resolutions, and on Israel's withdrawal from the Syrian Golan and South Lebanon, to the internationally recognized borders. Qatar also supported the right of Palestine to an independent state with its capital in Quds al-Sharif. Nuclear weapons in the region, now exclusively available to Israel, constituted a strategic imbalance and a threat to peace. That imbalance should be eliminated.

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FAROUK AL-SHARA', Minister for Foreign Affairs of Syria, ... reiterated its call for the creation of a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East, he continued. Syria’s call for full Israeli withdrawal to the line of 4 June 1967 and resumption of peace talks from the point at which they had been stopped, could not be called a pre-condition, as the Israeli Government claimed. If that claim were accepted, it would send the negotiations back to square one. Israel’s claim that Syria wanted to reach a result in the negotiations before they were resumed was invalid. Syria was not surprised at yesterday's statement by the Israeli Foreign Minister, who had carried the flag of the culture of peace, while totally ignoring the fact that the Israeli occupation was the main reason for the absence of peace. The culture of peace required: the end of Israeli occupation of all Arab territories; discontinuation of the destruction of Arab houses and of settlement activities; and translation of statements about peace into actions. Reaffirming concern for the unity and territorial integrity of Iraq, he called for the lifting of sanctions against that country, and also for an immediate end to the sanctions against Libya, since that country had honoured all its commitments under Security Council resolutions.


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