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UNITED
NATIONS
A

        General Assembly
A/68/PV.15
27 September 2013

Official Records
General Assembly
Sixty-eighth session
15th plenary meeting
Friday, 27 September 2013, 9 a.m.
New York

President: Mr. Ashe ...........................................................(Antigua and Barbuda)



In the absence of the President, Mr. Tommo Monthe (Cameroon), Vice-President, took the Chair.

The meeting was called to order at 9.10 a.m.



The Acting President: On behalf of the General Assembly, I have the honour to welcome to the United Nations His Excellency Al Hadji Yahya Jammeh, President of the Republic of the Gambia, and to invite him to address the Assembly.

/...

The situation in the occupied Palestinian territory remains pathetic as a result of decades of collective punishment, fraught with the glaringly degrading and inhumane treatment of innocent civilians and the gross denial of access to humanitarian assistance and basic services, and essential medical supplies and construction materials, which has become the daily rule rather than the exception for the Palestinians. The pattern and frequency of those human rights abuses, as well as the disproportionate use of force perpetrated by the occupying Power, continues unabated.

The Gambia is of the conviction that the ongoing seizure of Palestinian lands and properties to make way for illegal settlement activity is morally and politically unacceptable. Such uncalled-for behaviour on the part of Israel is in blatant disregard for international law and casts serious doubt on Israel’s intention to seek genuine and lasting peace with its brothers and sisters, the Palestinian people. How can the international community and the United Nations continue to watch such glaring injustice and protracted human rights abuses in silence, without feeling an iota of guilt for not taking bold and appropriate steps to bring them to an end? How long should we allow such blatant disregard for international law to continue unpunished?

While we welcome the resumption of peace talks between Israel and Palestine, we hope that this time around the brokers will be decent and honest enough to ensure that both sides are genuinely committed to a two-State solution that would eventually usher in permanent peace and security in the Middle East and beyond.

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The Acting President (spoke in French): On behalf of the General Assembly, I have the honour to welcome to the United Nations His Excellency Mr. Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, President of the Republic of Mali, and to invite him to address the Assembly.

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We encourage the Israeli-Palestinian talks currently under way and urge all parties to take the steps necessary to establish a climate of trust and launch direct negotiations to achieve a just, comprehensive and lasting peace based, in particular, on the relevant General Assembly and Security Council resolutions. I take this opportunity to reiterate the solidarity and full support of the people and the Government of Mali for the Palestinian people in their legitimate struggle for the exercise of their inalienable right to sovereignty.

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Agenda item 8 (continued)

General debate

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The Acting President: I have great pleasure in welcoming His Excellency Mr. Khudheir Mussa Al-Khuzaie, Vice-President of the Republic of Iraq, and inviting him to address the General Assembly.

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Our faith in humankind does not preclude us from taking up the just cause of the oppressed, the disadvantaged and the vulnerable, or from showing solidarity with the just causes of our Arab and Islamic nation, raising our voices in defence of their rights, their humanity and their causes. Foremost among those is the cause of the Palestinian people, who are still suffering from systematic oppression and ongoing settlement activities that violate their rights and threaten their identity and existence. The situation requires the world and its international institutions to assume their due roles and responsibilities and stand by a people who seek only the realization of their rights, freedom, justice and independence and the establishment of a viable Palestinian State, without which the Middle East region will remain prone to tension and instability.

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The Acting President: I have great pleasure in welcoming His Excellency Mr. Manuel Domingos Vicente, Vice-President of the Republic of Angola, and inviting him to address the General Assembly.

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The Israeli-Palestine conflict is one of the oldest on our planet and one that still confounds the international community. Angola supports the mediation efforts undertaken by United States Secretary of State John Kerry, and hopes for the resumption of dialogue and the conclusion of an agreement between Palestine and Israel that can convert the deadlock into lasting peace and the establishment of an independent Palestinian State within the 1967 borders, living side by side with the State of Israel in security.

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The President: I have great pleasure in welcoming His Excellency Mr. Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, Prime Minister of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, and inviting him to address the General Assembly.

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Last year, the Assembly gave Palestine the status of non-Member observer State. We hope that it will soon join this body as a full Member State. We are glad that the stalled peace process has started again. It should lead to the consolidation of an independent, viable and contiguous State of Palestine, based on the pre-1967 borders, with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital. Pakistan will continue to demonstrate its solidarity with the people of Palestine.

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The President: I now call on His Excellency Mr. Nicholas Clegg, Deputy Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

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One thing that would fundamentally transform the Middle East is a conclusive two-State agreement to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict — an agreement based on 1967 borders with agreed land swaps that leads to a sovereign and viable Palestinian State living in peace alongside a safe and secure Israel, a universally recognized Palestine alongside a universally recognized Israel.

I commend the dedicated efforts of Secretary Kerry and the courageous leadership of Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Abbas, which have enabled direct peace talks to resume. I sincerely hope that both parties will make every effort to keep talks going, including a halt in the building of new settlements. The international community must fully support the parties as they make the difficult decisions that are necessary for achieving a lasting peace. Britain stands ready to play its part.

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The President: I now call on His Excellency Mr. Sergey Lavrov, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation.

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The Syrian crisis should not overshadow the need to address the Palestinian problem. We expect the Israeli and Palestinian leaders to shoulder their responsibility for the future of their people at this current critical stage, where the parties have resumed direct talks after a lengthy interruption. While duly recognizing the efforts made by the United States in the Middle East settlement process, we deem it necessary to intensify the activity of the Quartet, the internationally recognized mechanism for providing assistance to the peace process in the region on the basis of the relevant decisions of the United Nations, the Madrid principles and the Arab Peace Initiative. It is also important to ensure the close involvement of the Arab countries in the activities of the Quartet.

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The President: I now call on His Excellency Mr. Wang Yi, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China.

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The Palestinian issue is at the core of the Middle East conflict. Guided by President Xi Jinping’s four-point proposal on resolving the Palestinian issue, China will continue to work for a comprehensive, just and durable solution to the issue.

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The President: I now call on His Excellency Mr. Franciscus Cornelis Gerardus Maria Timmermans, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

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The Netherlands supports John Kerry’s efforts to encourage Israel and the Palestinian Authority to arrive at a two-State solution through direct negotiations. The international community should support the Israeli-Palestinian talks. Only a political solution can lead to lasting peace.

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The meeting rose at 2.55 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 U-506. Corrections will be issued after the end of the session in a consolidated corrigendum.



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