Press Release
Department of Public Information · News Coverage Service · New York

18 September 2002

Fifty-seventh General Assembly
14th Meeting (AM)

Speakers Reiterate Commitment to International Anti-Terror Campaign




MUSTAFA OSMAN ISMAIL, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Sudan, ...


Noting that the United Nations Charter emphasized the role of regional organizations in the peaceful resolution of conflicts, he highlighted the efforts of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and the Organization of the Islamic Conference, to find solutions to the conflicts in Somalia, the Sudan and the Middle East.  A successful solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict must include provisions for ending the occupation of the Palestinian territories, implementing the relevant international resolutions, and recuperating the legal rights of the Palestinian people, including the right to an independent State.  ...


N. HASSAN WIRAJUDA, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Indonesia, stressed the pivotal role of the United Nations, saying multilateralism was essential in dealing with the threat of international terrorism, bringing about disarmament and solving the problems in the Middle East.  Advocating a Palestinian State living alongside a secure Israel, he also called on Iraq to comply fully with the relevant Security Council resolutions.


SHIMON PERES, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Israel, emphasizing that terror was condemned to lose, said the Middle East was still replete with national, religious and territorial disputes.  The real tragedy was that without terror, those disputes would already have been resolved.  Terror had changed the priorities, placing security before policy, and affected resources.  That included arming young men, for example, instead of desalinating vital water.  If that continued, battlefields would create deserts of sorrow, bringing more days of violence.  Campuses of learning would be replaced by camps of violence.

It could be different, he stated, noting that South Africa, Ireland, Yugoslavia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo had achieved more by talking than by shooting; by dialogue rather than dispute.  Israel had offered the Palestinians a comprehensive solution without terror, a solution that was close to their national aspirations.  “Terror postponed their destiny; terror postponed our willingness to end control over their lives”, he said.  Smoking guns had replaced the torches of peace.

Reducing violence, he said, would shorten political distances.  Israel accepted United States President George W. Bush’s vision, which was supported by the “Quartet” and endorsed by Arab countries.  The vision, which had outlined a political goal and a timetable, could be considered as a road map.  What was needed now were wheels to ignite and propel the vehicle of peace; an economic wheel that led to a global market economy; an ecological wheel to let air and water flow cleanly; then a cultural wheel that would allow the descendants of Abraham to behave like a family with tolerance and solidarity.  Without wars, the region could bloom again.  “We can separate politically into two States and coordinate one economy”, he added.

Reiterating Israel’s commitment to the territorial integrity of Lebanon and respect for its need for real political independence, he said that country should not permit Hezbollah to destroy Lebanon.  He urged that country to immediately free Israeli prisoners of war, saying, “The people of the Middle East should let bygones be bygones.”

HOR NAMHONG, Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Cambodia, urged the international community to help find a solution that would bring about a viable peace to the Middle East.  Stressing that violence was not a solution, he said that the Palestinian people had the right to their own State, living in peace with Israel.  He urged both sides to have the “wisdom to understand that they are condemned to live side by side forever”.


AUGUSTO CASALI, Minister for Foreign and Political Affairs of San Marino, discussing why terrorism existed, pointed to hunger, poverty, underdevelopment  and violations of human rights, among other things.  His country supported the initiatives and procedures of the Security Council aimed at stemming the expansion of terrorism and would itself pass a special law to counter terrorism.  San Marino also believed that dialogue and tolerance, with diversity as a universal heritage, would lead to unity among nations.  On the Middle East, he emphasized the importance of negotiations and dialogue to effect peace, stating that Israel had the right to exist within its own borders, and the Palestinians deserved the same.


FRANÇOIS LONSENY FALL, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Guinea, urged that the fight against terrorism be strengthened through the organization, in all countries, of a broad educational campaign to cultivate tolerance, respect and acceptance of others.  While there had been progress in resolving many conflicts around the world, the gulf between Israelis and Palestinians had been exacerbated by the violence of the past two years.  Guinea reaffirmed its support for the Palestinian people and their leader, Yasser Arafat, and urged the implementation of relevant Security Council resolutions.  ...


MAHMOUD HAMMOUD, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Emigrants of Lebanon, said his country and its Arab neighbours had been suffering from the state terrorism that Israel had continuously practised without deterrence since the Deir Yassin massacre and the massacres of Qana and Jenin.  Lately, Israel had started manipulating the tragic events of 11 September 2001 and the international campaign to combat terrorism, as a pretext to pursue its persecution of the Palestinians and to deprive them of their right to self-determination.  Israel had also launched a slanderous campaign of threats against Lebanon and its legitimate resistance, as well as against Syria, whereas the origin of the conflict in the region was the Israeli occupation of Arab territories.

Underlining the difficulty of striving security in the absence of political, economic and social justice, he said security approaches alone and partial interim solutions could not possibly succeed in solving the Middle East conflict.  Lebanon called for an approach that made a priority of the conflict's political dimension and of the need for a just and comprehensive solution to the conflict.  It was in that context that the Beirut Summit had adopted the Arab Peace Initiative in March.  It was unfortunate that Israel had responded to that initiative by escalating its aggression, reoccupying the West Bank and relentlessly targeting human lives and property.  Simultaneously, others had chosen to ignore the initiative, despite its comprehensiveness, the unanimous Arab stance and broad international support. 

After May 2000, he noted, the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) had commenced the implementation of its mandate after Israel's withdrawal from most of southern Lebanon.  The Lebanese Shab’a Farms and three other points along the withdrawal line remained under occupation.  Lebanon reserved its right to recover and spread its sovereignty over them.  Another important aspect of UNIFIL’s task that remained unfulfilled was the restoration of peace and security, a task that was obstructed by Israel’s continued threats against Lebanon. 

Furthermore, he continued, Israel continued to occupy the Syrian Golan and to ignore the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes.  A just settlement to the problem of Palestinian refugees should be based on their right to return and on a rejection of their implantation in Lebanon.  Failure to address that issue was a time bomb that would undermine the security sought in the Middle East.  The solution to the Palestinian refugee issue could not be realized through exclusively bilateral Palestinian-Israeli negotiations as the viability of any solution required that other concerned countries, including Lebanon, be involved in the negotiating process.

STAFFORD NEIL, (Jamaica), said that dramatic events over the past year had brought old and new issues to the forefront of international attention, among them the terrorist attacks of 11 September, the ensuing war in Afghanistan, the escalating violence in the Middle East, the heightening of tensions in South Asia and more recently the threat of a new war in Iraq.  Of high importance was the situation in the Middle East, where the world had witnessed so much death, destruction and human suffering, especially among civilians. 


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