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United Nations addressed to the Secretary-General
In the wake of the recent escalation of violence in the Middle East, the Prime Ministers of Turkey and Spain, Recep Tayyip Erdo?an and José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, co-sponsors of the Alliance of Civilizations initiative that is now placed under your auspices, have issued a joint statement that we have the honour to enclose herewith (see annex).
We would be grateful if the text of the present letter and the annexed joint statement could be circulated as a document of the General Assembly, under agenda items 14, 42 and 43.
(Signed) Íñigo DE PALACIA ESPANA
Chargé d’affaires a.i.
of the Permanent Mission of Spain to the United Nations
(Signed) Baki IKIN
Permanent Representative of Turkey to the United Nations
Joint statement regarding the latest developments in the Middle East issued on 22 July 2006 by the Prime Minister of Spain and the Prime Minister of Turkey, co-sponsors of the Alliance of Civilizations initiative
The current dramatic escalation of violence in the Middle East has already left hundreds of innocent civilians dead and many more wounded. We condemn all forms of terrorism. We can accept neither bombs nor missiles landing on civilians. We firmly reject any disproportionate use of force. We demand the release of the soldiers kidnapped and of those detained in the course of events, including ministers and deputies.
Denial of the most fundamental and inalienable rights to life, security and freedom threatens to widen even further the gap that we, the co-sponsors of the Alliance of Civilizations, strive to narrow. The grave repercussions of this confrontation will be felt well beyond the Middle East.
Not only innocent children, women and the elderly but all the fundamental values upheld by humanity are struggling for survival under the debris of the homes, bridges, schools, hospitals, power stations, infrastructure and civilian settlement areas being punished by bombing.
We believe that confrontation in the Middle East is not inevitable; on the contrary, peace is possible in the region. Moreover, the solutions have already been identified. We may need to review the approach to peace followed so far but it is imperative that we manage to put the peace process back on track as a matter of urgency. What is required is enough political courage to deliver the difficult concessions that all concerned parties must make for the sake of peace and security for all in the region.
We are certain that, in a not too distant future, the citizens of all the countries in the region will look back and not understand why today their leaders were unable to solve their differences through dialogue and negotiations.
We call upon the United Nations, the European Union and other relevant international organizations, nations and international leaders and political decision-makers to intensify ongoing efforts to bring an end to this spiral of violence and hostility, which runs the risk of dragging the entire region into a chaotic deadlock with global repercussions.
We as co-sponsors of the Alliance of Civilizations initiative stand ready to contribute in whatever way may be appropriate. Weapons must give way to dialogue and negotiations. There is no time to lose; the time for joint action to achieve a ceasefire and peace is now. Our future is at stake. We cannot allow ourselves to simply watch the tragedy continue to unfold.