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


Fifty-fourth General Assembly
Plenary
21st Meeting (PM)
GA/9620
1 October 1999

VOTING PRACTICE, NOT `SHOP-WORN ISSUE OF NON-PERMANENT MEMBERSHIP'
KEY IN SECURITY COUNCIL, GENERAL ASSEMBLY TOLD

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SOMSAVAT LENGSAVAD, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Lao People's Democratic Republic said that... Turning to the international situation, he welcomed the fact that serious negotiations had resumed between the Palestinian Liberation Organization and Israel. It was essential to resolve all differences on the basis of existing resolutions and agreements.

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AHMED OULD SID'AHMED, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Mauritania, said that ... In the Middle East, comprehensive application of relevant Security Council resolutions and implementation of existing agreements should allow the peace process to move forward. Today, the resumption of negotiations between all the parties concerned was one of the most urgent measures.

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Right of Reply

MIKHAIL WEHBE (Syria) said it was not the first time that the Assembly had heard statements by the Israeli representative against peace based on falsification of facts and attempts to mislead the international community. The statement made yesterday by the Israeli representative was nothing more than the position of the previous Israeli Government and one he hoped would not be perpetuated by the new Government. The denial of the Trust transmitted by former Israeli Prime Minister, Yitzhak Rabin, to Syria on 1 July 1994, through the United States, showed either that the Israeli representative was ignorant of the facts of the Trust, or that he chose purposely to ignore them, based on his enmity to peace, Security Council resolutions, the principle of land for peace and full withdrawal for complete peace.

He said his intention was not to revisit the Israeli statement made yesterday. It was to inform the international community, which supported the achievement of a just and comprehensive peace, about the facts on what had taken place on the Syrian track during the tenure of Prime Minister Rabin. The United States Secretary of State at the time had informed Syria in 1994 of Mr. Rabin's agreement to withdraw from Golan to the line of 1967 as a commitment to take up the remaining elements of the peace agreements. President Al Hassad of Syria had raised two questions to the United States Secretary of State to satisfy himself about the accuracy of the Israeli offer. The first had been, did Prime Minister Rabin mean withdrawal from all the territories to the line of June 4 1967? To that, the Secretary of State had said yes. Second: was there any Israeli claim to any tract of land inside the line of 4 June 1967. The answer had been that there was no such claim.

He said that the statement made by the Foreign Minister of Syria before this session of the Assembly had affirmed that the Trust was a fundamental part of the peace agreements, and that the remaining parts on normal peace relations, as well as normal security arrangements, based on objectives that had been reached with the sponsorship and participation of the United States, should be completed. Syria did not want this opportunity for peace to go to waste. But if the opportunity was lost, Israel alone would bear the responsibility for it.

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DORE GOLD (Israel) said he wanted to reiterate his country's determination to make peace with all its neighbours, including Syria. Peace that would make Israel more secure. No commitment had been provided in past negotiations to return to the line of 4 June 1967, he stressed. Security Council resolutions 242 and 338 had formed the basis of negotiations for Israel since the Madrid peace process.

As he had stated yesterday, the notion that no commitment had been provided since 1993 or 1994, was not policy, but had been documented by those who had been involved in the peace process in 1994. Rather than taking selective portions of the negotiated record and trying to turn them into binding agreements, what was necessary was for Israel and Syria to meet face to face and settle the issues once and for all. Nothing was agreed until everything was agreed. The Government and people of Israel were determined to make peace this year.

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For information media - not an official record