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The meeting was called to order at 3.05 p.m.
Agenda item 9 (continued)
Address by Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber
Al-Sabah, Acting Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of the State of Kuwait
The Acting President (spoke in Arabic) : The Assembly will now hear an address by the Acting Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of the State of Kuwait.
Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, Acting Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of the State of Kuwait, was escorted to the rostrum.
The Acting President (spoke in Arabic): I have great pleasure in welcoming Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, Acting Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of the State of Kuwait, and inviting him to address the General Assembly.
Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah (spoke in Arabic) :
The eyes of the world have been fixed for over one year now on the valiant uprising of the Palestinian people, which arose as a natural and legitimate response to the continued Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories and to the backtracking of the Israeli Government from the accords it signed with the Palestinian side.
The obvious policy of the Government of Israel is to reject any Palestinian, regional or international initiative. Instead, it counts as a matter of policy on the use of force; state terrorism and the creation of faits accomplis on the ground. It slams every door that is opened, designs new oppressive measures and triggers one crisis after another. Its overriding goal is to abort the peace promise born in Madrid in 1991. Israel’s barbaric practices, its blatant challenge to all United Nations resolutions and its excessive and unwarranted use of lethal force in response to stone-throwing Palestinians have all combined to create an overwhelming sense of despair, frustration and gloom in the Palestinian ranks.
Here one must ponder the hard lessons we have all learned from similar situations of unalloyed gloom and doom. It is precisely against this backdrop that the United Nations, the international community and the United States in particular, as a co-sponsor of the Middle East peace process, must assume a special international responsibility to mount an effective and meaningful drive to force Israel to fulfil its undertakings and commitments set forth in its bilateral agreements with the Palestinian Authority, as well as to implement Security Council and General Assembly resolutions, including those relating to the city of Jerusalem, with a view to preserving its Arab and Islamic character and its holy religious identity. Kuwait therefore welcomes the indications of support by the United States for the establishment of an independent Palestinian State. We hope that this declared position will now be translated into concrete steps that will move the whole peace process forward towards its long-awaited outcome.
In this context, let me stress that Kuwait will continue to support our Palestinian brothers and to provide all possible political and material assistance to them until they attain all their legitimate political rights, including the establishment of an independent Palestinian State on their own territory, with Jerusalem as its capital. In the same vein, Israel must unconditionally withdraw from the Syrian Arab Golan and the Lebanese Shab’ a farms.
The President : I now call on His Excellency Mr. Jan Petersen, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Norway.
Mr. Petersen (Norway):
A year ago, peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians appeared to be at hand. Today, the hope for peace and security has given way to disillusion, despair and the murder of civilians.
We are convinced that the only way out of the current stalemate is through the full implementation of the recommendations in the Mitchell report, which have been endorsed by both parties and by the international community.
First of all, there must be an immediate end to the violence. Terrorism must be stopped. The cycle of violent action and reaction must be broken. Political leaders on both sides must do everything in their power to halt the violence and reduce the tension.
Secondly, confidence-building measures must be implemented simultaneously. Trust must be rebuilt step by step, since without it there can be no real dialogue or negotiation. The Mitchell report lists several steps for restoring trust. Given the high level of hostility and mistrust, the timing and sequence of these steps are crucial. Decisions must be made now.
Thirdly, the parties must find a way back to the negotiating table. A halt to the violence, the resumption of security cooperation and steps to restore trust cannot be sustained for long without serious negotiations to resolve the underlying causes of the conflict.
Norway will continue to support efforts to bring about a peaceful resolution of the conflict. As Chair of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee, we stand ready to work with other donors to help restore the economic and social infrastructure in the Palestinian areas.
The President : I call on His Excellency Mr. Dah Ould Abdi, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Mauritania.
Mr. Ould Abdi (Mauritania) (spoke in Arabic ):
In that connection, my country notes with satisfaction the sustained efforts and the success of repeated appeals to bring peace to the Middle East so that the peoples of that region can live in peace, security and prosperity. We hope that the peace process will be resumed in accordance with the principles enunciated at the Madrid Conference, in keeping with the principle of land for peace, and in conformity with Security Council resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973) and 425 (1978), thus bringing about the complete withdrawal of Israel from all Arab territories occupied in 1967 and the establishment of an independent Palestinian State with its capital in the holy city of Al-Quds Al-Sharif.
Mr. Gama (Portugal) ( spoke in Portuguese; English text furnished by the delegation ):
The situation in the Middle East, specifically in Palestine, is the most worrisome, placing even international security at risk. The international community can spare no efforts to ensure that Israel and the Palestinians return to the path of dialogue. Only there will a solution be found that is just, both for the Palestinian people — who have fought for decades for the recognition of their homeland, an inalienable and undeniable right, and for dignified living conditions within a sovereign and responsible Palestinian State — and for Israel, which has an equal right to live in security in the region and at peace with its neighbours.
Mr. Möeller Freile (Ecuador) (spoke in Spanish ):
Ecuador, as a country that believes in and practices the peaceful settlement of international disputes, regrets and condemns conflicts between States, as well as those within States caused by civil war, ethnic conflict or other reasons. The Government of Ecuador is concerned by the uncontrolled violence occurring between the peoples of Palestine and Israel, which continues to reap a tragic harvest of death and destruction. We recognize the right of the Palestinian people to a free and independent State, as well as the State of Israel’s right to exist within secure and internationally recognized borders. Ecuador reiterates its appeal to both parties to quickly return to peace negotiations.
Mr. Belkhadem (Algeria) (spoke in Arabic ):
First of all, there is a need at the United Nations level to set aright unacceptable situations of injustice and denial of rights. In Palestine, the serious situation that prevails as a result of the continued Israeli occupation and its oppressive practices requires the attention of the entire international community. It demands urgent action to put an end to the daily trials of the Palestinian people, who are subjected to a deliberate policy by the Israeli army of intimidation, abuse and murder. This policy is likely to endanger the resumption of the peace process, taking the entire region to the brink of a conflagration with incalculable consequences.
Given the situation, Algeria reaffirms its total solidarity with the Palestinian people and their inalienable right to an independent State with Al-Quds al-Sharif as its capital. Algeria urgently calls upon the international community to ensure the protection of the Palestinian people by sending international observers to the region.
Algeria wishes to emphasize that only a solution based on international legality — in particular Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973) — as well as on the principle of land for peace, adopted at the Madrid Conference, can ensure just and lasting peace and security for all the peoples of the region, as Chairman Yasser Arafat indicated in his speech this morning. Algeria would also like to reaffirm its solidarity with the brotherly peoples of Syria and Lebanon for the restoration of their lands still under Israeli occupation. In addition, Algeria welcomes the decision of the Security Council to lift the sanctions on the brotherly people of Sudan and seizes the opportunity to renew its appeal for the lifting of the sanctions on the brotherly Iraqi and Libyan peoples.
The President: I now give the floor to His Excellency Mr. Hor Namhong, Senior Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Cambodia.
Mr. Hor Namhong (Cambodia):
In order to find solutions to the current problems facing our world, I believe that we need to look into not only the root causes of terrorism but also the other contributing factors that are confronting the world today. First, we need to look for a just and lasting peace in the Middle East, in particular a solution to the Palestine problem. We need to respect the fundamental right of self-determination of the Palestinian people. In this regard, Cambodia supports the creation of a Palestinian State as early as possible. One may argue that the present situation in the world may have opened a window of opportunity for finding solutions to the ongoing conflict in the Middle East. I believe that all parties concerned should, and I hope that they will, give peace in the region a chance, which is the way to overcome the lingering conflict in the region.
The Acting President ( spoke in Arabic ): I now call on Her Excellency Mrs. Lila Ratsifandriamanana, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Madagascar.
Mrs. Ratsifandriamanana (Madagascar) (spoke in French ):
It goes without saying that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict claims our full attention. We believe it is imperative that a special session be convened on this question by the United Nations and also that an international force be deployed to protect the innocent victims. We support the Palestinian people in its struggle for independence and sovereignty. We also welcome the continuation of peace negotiations between the Government of Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization. The principle of land for peace must be respected. This must be done in keeping with the relevant resolutions of the General Assembly and the Security Council.
The Acting President ( spoke in Arabic) : I now give the floor to His Excellency Mr. Fuad Mubarak Al-Hinai, Chairman of the delegation of Oman.
Mr. Al-Hinai (Oman) ( spoke in Arabic ):
The series of difficult and painful events in the peace process in the Middle East on all its tracks and at all its stages, particularly regarding the Palestinian aspect of the question, confirms that in order to arrive at a just, comprehensive and lasting peace it is necessary to work towards implementing Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973), as well as all other relevant United Nations resolutions that demand the withdrawal of Israel from all Arab territories occupied in 1967 and recognition of the legitimate right of the Palestinian people to self-determination and to the establishment of its own independent State, with Al-Quds al-Sharif as its capital. This is a basic, just and legitimate demand for the purpose of consolidating the pillars of peace and stability in the region. We express our full support for these just demands of the Palestinian people who are fully entitled to use all means available to them to put an end to the Israeli occupation of their territory.
The Islamic countries also support the right of the Palestinian people because of the justness of their cause. Theirs is a legitimate right recognized and guaranteed by all international norms and instruments. The Sultanate of Oman invites the United Nations and the Security Council to assume their full responsibility to have Israel implement all relevant Security Council and international resolutions and to stop the collective punishment of the Palestinian people.
Following the Madrid Peace Conference, in 1991, the region was full of hope and optimism. It seemed as though peace were becoming a reality. Many agreements had been reached, from Oslo to Sharm el-Sheikh, and all the parties had embarked on dialogue with one another in circumstances that were not ideal. Nonetheless, despite all the missteps, peace moved forward, because peace was the ultimate goal that everyone eagerly sought. The Arabs believed in peace. They had agreed to it as an irreversible strategic option based on the principles of Islam, which advocates tolerance and peace, and because they were convinced that peace alone would make prosperity, stability and development possible.
The Sultanate of Oman has therefore supported every effort, with a view to achieving that much-desired peace based on justice, fairness and the legality of international resolutions and the principle of land for peace. But Israel deviated from those principles, inventing its own concept of peace. Israel has used every possible means of imposing its own kind of peace. Israel does not really want the peace that the world is considering. Israel wants its own special kind of peace. It wants the international community to go along with the current reality — the occupation of territory, without giving the Palestinians any role or a State. This is why violence in the region is a dynamic of action and reaction. This is why there has been bloodshed and why life and property continue to be destroyed. Will the world stand by and watch the killing of innocents, the murder of the elderly and children?
The Sultanate of Oman therefore invites the two sponsors of the peace process — the United States of America and the Russian Federation — and the Secretary-General to play their role so that the situation can return to normal and so that the peace process, in all its aspects, can be revived and resumed from the point where it left off.
My Government supports the just position of the fraternal Syrian Arab Republic. Its actions are aimed at recovering the occupied territory of the Golan Heights and at ensuring Israel’s withdrawal to the 4 June 1967 border. In our opinion, it is in Israel’s interest to resume the negotiations, in accordance with the principles of international law and international resolutions including Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973), as well as the principle of land for peace, in order to lay the foundation for peace and security, so that an effective partnership can be built and a lasting, stable and viable relationship based on mutual interests among the States of the region can be established and consolidated.
My Government also asks Israel to work towards the full implementation of Security Council resolution 425 (1978), which calls upon Israel to withdraw from all Lebanese territory. The Shab’a farms area is an integral part of Lebanese territory and is covered by that resolution. It is in Israel’s interest to withdraw from that territory in order to broaden the prospects of peace and to strengthen peace and stability, which everyone desires.
The meeting rose at 7.30 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-178. Corrections will be issued after the end of the session in a consolidated corrigendum.