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In the absence of the President, Ms. Clarke (Barbados), Vice-President, took the Chair.
The meeting was called to order at 10.10 a.m.
Agenda items 11 and 40
Report of the Security Council (A/57/2 and Corr.1)
Question of equitable representation on and increase in the membership of the Security Council and related matters: Report of the Open-ended Working Group
Sir Jeremy Greenstock (United Kingdom): ...
The Middle East peace process remains an issue with respect to which the Council continues to have difficulties. Perhaps it is the most troubled of all the issues before the Council. But we have made progress in some respects: monthly briefings from the Secretary-General or the Secretariat; and a greater degree of consensus, or near-consensus, on the decisions of the Council in the period under review than in the period before that. Perhaps we should have been ready to accept that on occasion a rapid press statement may be more effective than a long wrangle leading to failure on more ambitious propositions. The Council needs to focus on where, within the political realities, it can make a difference and add value. I am particularly pleased that the European Union members of the Council have worked well together on this vital issue. More of that will be seen in future.
Mrs. Ahmed (Sudan) (spoke in Arabic ): ...
In conclusion, I wish to stress the importance of establishing a balance and of activating cooperation between the General Assembly and the Security Council. This will preserve the genuine expression of the will of the international community, represented most fully by the General Assembly, including in the search for solutions to problems which the Security Council has hitherto failed to solve. Prominent among these issues is the situation in the Middle East and the need to put an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestinian and other occupied Arab territories.
Mr. Rodríguez Parrilla (Cuba) (spoke in Spanish ): ...
While the Security Council goes beyond its authority on some subjects, we are concerned by its lack of action in other areas, such as the occupied Palestinian territories. It is unacceptable for that body to continue to turn its back on the suffering of the Palestinian people and fail to give serious consideration to the Secretary-General’s proposal to establish a multinational protection force in the occupied territories.
Mr. Baali (Algeria) ( spoke in French ): ...
In the Middle East, where the Council has a manifest responsibility, it has been unable, despite the adoption of numerous resolutions, to make any significant progress in encouraging or facilitating the peace process or, indeed, in protecting the Palestinian population in the occupied territories. The case of resolution 1435 (2002), which was painstakingly negotiated and adopted just two weeks ago, attests to the Council’s powerlessness to ensure respect for its own resolutions. As soon as the text was adopted, Israel effectively rejected it and declared, in all impunity and with its customary arrogance towards the international community, that it would not take it into consideration.
Mr. Zhang Yishan (China) (spoke in Chinese ): ...
At the same time, we would like to point out that the role played by the Security Council in the Middle East on the Palestinian question is still not satisfactory, despite the fact that the Council has adopted resolutions and declarations. Nevertheless, the situation in the Middle East has not improved.
Mr. Tayeb (Saudi Arabia) (spoke in Arabic):...
We deeply appreciate the interest that the Security Council has shown in the question of the Middle East, as reflected in its adoption of four resolutions, most of them unanimously, over the period under consideration. However, we must express our concern at the fact that most of those resolutions have not been implemented, as the report itself shows.
Indeed, the State of Israel has refused to implement the resolutions calling for an immediate ceasefire and for the withdrawal of Israeli forces from the occupied Palestinian territories. Israel has prevented the deployment of a fact-finding team concerning the atrocities perpetrated by the Israeli forces in the Jenin refugee camp. This refusal to implement Security Council resolutions demonstrates once again that State’s scorn for the decisions of the United Nations, the Security Council and the international community. This is a matter of great concern in the context of international relations, as it could undermine the Council’s work, effectiveness and legitimacy.
Israel’s persistent refusal to implement Security Council resolutions shows its determination to continue occupying Palestinian and other Arab territories and to undermine efforts towards peace in the Middle East.
The Arab side, for its part, has shown a sincere determination to establish peace. This was made clear in particular at the Arab Summit held in Beirut last March, which adopted the initiative put forward by His Highness Prince Abdullah Bin Abdul-Aziz to establish a comprehensive and just peace in accordance with Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973), and to make possible the signing of a peace agreement leading to Israel’s full withdrawal from occupied Palestinian and Arab territories; the establishment of an independent Palestinian State, with Al-Quds as its capital; and the establishment of peaceful, normal relations between Israel and Arab States.
The day after that decision was taken, Israel perpetrated the worst possible crimes and massacres against innocent, unarmed Palestinian civilians and besieged the legitimate Palestinian Authority.
Given Israel’s failure to comply with the Security Council’s resolutions and efforts to promote peace in the region, the international community must take the necessary measures in order to maintain the prestige and credibility of the Council. Such action should have the same weight and force as other measures taken by the Council vis-à-vis other States that have failed to comply with its resolutions. Israel must submit to the will of the international community and accept the implementation of the relevant decisions of the Security Council. This alone will be a guarantee of peace, security and stability in the Middle East.
Mr. Hasmy (Malaysia): ...
The question of Palestine is one of the oldest items on the agenda of the Council, yet resolving it has not been possible. The failure of the Council to exert its authority on this issue undermines its credibility. It is time for the Council to play a more active role on this issue and to contribute to the amelioration of the situation on the ground.
Mr. Fadaifard (Islamic Republic of Iran): ...
The Middle East is the area in which the Council has achieved the least and clearly fallen short of expectations. While we appreciate the fact that there is now a monthly briefing of the Council on the Middle East, we note that the record of the Council on this issue has yet to improve. It has yet to take measures with a view to implementing its resolutions, the latest of which is resolution 1435 (2002). There is no doubt that the credibility of the Council will erode over time if it is habitually seen to be unable to meet its responsibilities with regard to outstanding issues on its agenda.
It was so decided.
The meeting rose at 1.15 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.