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14th plenary meeting
Thursday, 21 September 2006, 10 a.m.
The meeting was called to order at 10.30 a.m.
The President (spoke in Arabic ): On behalf of the General Assembly, I have the honour to welcome to the United Nations His Excellency Mr. Émile Lahoud, President of the Lebanese Republic, and to invite him to address the Assembly.
President Lahoud : ...
There is ample talk today of the need to reach a permanent and comprehensive peace in the Middle East, which Lebanon has stressed for decades. However, we are quick to point out that no such peace can be achieved in the Middle East without addressing the root cause of instability there, namely, the Arab-Israeli dispute and its core issue, Palestine.
Despite the horrid events in Lebanon, a window of opportunity has presented itself, and it should be fully exploited in order to reinvigorate the Middle East peace initiative, founded on the Arab peace initiative adopted during the Beirut Arab Summit of 2002.
The Arab peace initiative remains the suitable means to achieve a permanent, comprehensive and just peace, because it simply calls for the implementation of all United Nations resolutions as they pertain to the withdrawal of Israel from all occupied Arab lands, and for the return of Palestinian refugees to their homes. Only such a settlement will be capable of affording Lebanon and the neighbouring countries the stability and security they long for and will give Israel a sense of security — something it has failed to obtain through sheer force and aggression. Moreover, this should put an end to the haemorrhage in the Palestinian territories and foster moderation where despair has bred extremism and violence, most notably in Iraq, where it is vital for all of us to help that tortured Arab nation preserve its territorial integrity and the unity of its people.
Today there is incessant talk of a new Middle East as a harbinger of better things to come, and this prompts us to ask the following question. Is what we have witnessed in Lebanon and continue to see in Palestine and Iraq conducive to an environment of peace and tranquillity? Is this much heralded new Middle East attainable only through widespread strife, unimaginable bloodshed, sedition and oppression?
Our conception of a new Middle East is one that is coherent with United Nations resolutions, and that is in concurrence with the principles of justice and right as stipulated in those resolutions. Our idea of a new Middle East is one where a comprehensive peace settlement becomes reality, guaranteeing the rights of all; where Palestinian refugees return home, as stipulated in resolution 194 (III), which comes long before Security Council resolution 1701 (2006), and therefore are not resettled in host countries; and where prisoners return to their loved ones.
This is the only way to attain a stable Middle East. All else will plunge our region into further upheaval and bloodshed.
Should our conception of peace in the Middle East become reality, I assure the Assembly that the need for conferences, studies and discussions of terrorism will become moot. Should this happen in tandem with serious attempts to combat poverty and sustain acceptable levels of development in areas of need, this will certainly dry up the pools where terrorism draws its human and financial support.
I have recently read one of your statements, Madam President, in which you emphasize that overhauling the United Nations will be one of your top priorities. I commend you for that position, because no one appreciates the need for world peace more than the people of the Middle East, as we recognize that the preservation of world peace requires a United Nations capable of taking decisions and competent to see them through.
Agenda item 8 (continued)
The Acting President : I have great pleasure in welcoming His Excellency the Honourable Ralph E. Gonsalves, Prime Minister, Minister for Finance, Planning, Economic Development, Labour, Information, Grenadines and Legal Affairs of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and inviting him to address the General Assembly.
Mr. Gonsalves (Saint Vincent and the Grenadines): ...
Of all the tragedies engulfing our modern world, few touch the human soul and spirit as does the condition of the people in Darfur and Palestine. The entire world knows who are responsible for the crimes against humanity in Darfur and in all areas of the Palestinian homeland. Yet the basic human and national rights of the people in those geographic regions are trampled upon daily by alien forces. Meanwhile, the United Nations appears helpless and its authority is undermined. Surely, the time is long past for a resolution of these conflicts, and other enduring conflicts worldwide, including Lebanon and Western Sahara. Oppression will not endure indefinitely. That is the powerful lesson of history. The people’s right to self-determination must be fully respected.
The Acting President : I have great pleasure in welcoming His Excellency Mr. Sidi Mohamed Ould Boubacar, Prime Minister of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, and inviting him to address the General Assembly.
Mr. Ould Boubacar (Mauritania) (spoke in Arabic ): ...
My country, Mauritania, reiterates its support for peace and for relaunching the negotiation process on all tracks. That is the only way to put an end to the conflict in the Middle East, on the basis of international resolutions, the Arab Peace Initiative and the Road Map, which will guarantee the Israeli withdrawal from all occupied Arab territories in Palestine, Syria and Lebanon and allow the Palestinian people to restore its legitimate rights and establish an independent State with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital.
The meeting rose at 1.50 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.