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15th plenary meeting
Tuesday, 2 October 2007, 3 p.m.
The meeting was called to order at 3.10 p.m.
Agenda item 8 (continued)
The President : I now give the floor to His Excellency Mr. Dermot Ahern, T.D., Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ireland.
Mr. Ahern (Ireland): First of all, Mr. President, may I congratulate you on your election and wish you well in the months ahead.
The situation in the Middle East is always high on our agenda. There has been a collective international failure to establish a credible political process leading to a two-State solution. But today there are possibilities for change. The outlines of a viable settlement are clear to everyone, even if it will require difficult and painful compromises. Ireland strongly supports the dialogue between Prime Minister Olmert and President Abbas. We are also encouraged by the determination of the Arab States to pursue the historic Arab Peace Initiative. We share the hope that the international meeting now in preparation under Secretary Rice’s leadership will indeed be serious and substantive and set in train a transformation of the political landscape and the lives of its people.
The Acting President : I now call on Her Excellency Ms. Lisa Shoman, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade of Belize.
Ms. Shoman (Belize): ...
We continue to monitor the situation in the Middle East with great concern. The question of Palestine remains the crux of the conflicts in the region. In that regard, it is high time that we realized the vision of two States, Palestine and Israel, living side by side in peace and security. We join those who expect that the international meeting to be held in the near future will yield results substantial enough to translate that vision into reality.
The President : I now give the floor to His Excellency Mr. Anders Lidén, Chairman of the delegation of the Kingdom of Sweden.
Mr. Lidén (Sweden): ...
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has to end with a peaceful settlement negotiated by the parties, resulting in the emergence of an independent, democratic and viable Palestinian State living side by side in peace and security with Israel and other neighbours. Restoring peace and economic growth in the Middle East requires parallel action by the Israelis and the Palestinians. Nothing is more important for the long-term security of Israel than the creation of a truly viable Palestinian State. That will require freedom of movement and access to be significantly improved in the West Bank and Gaza. Prime Minister Olmert and President Abbas recognize each other as partners for peace. That provides an opening that we should all do our utmost to support.
It is therefore now time for a true peace process, and not of the incremental sort that has been tried so many times before. It is now time to achieve the peace that is the common aspiration of the vast majority of Israelis and Palestinians alike, as well as of the international community.
We urge the leaders of Israel and Palestine to move forward towards a comprehensive settlement. The international meeting this autumn is of crucial importance. But the challenges of the Middle East are not limited to that conflict.
The meeting rose at 8 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.