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Provisional agenda (S/Agenda/1872)
1. Adoption of the agenda
2. The Middle East problem including the Palestinian question
The meeting was called to order at 3.50 p.m. Adoption of the agenda
The agenda was adopted.
The Middle East problem including the Palestinian question
1 The PRESIDENT: In accordance with the decisions taken earlier by the Council [1870th and 1871st meetings], I invite the representatives of Egypt, Jordan, Qatar, the Syrian Arab Republic, the United Arab Emirates and Yugoslavia, in conformity with the usual practice and the relevant provisions of the Charter and the provisional rules of procedure, to participate in the discussion, without the right to vote. In accordance with the decision also taken by the Council [1870th meeting], I invite the representative of the Palestine Liberation Organization to participate in the discussion.
At the invitation of the President, Mr. Abdel Meguid (Egypt), Mr. Sharaf (Jordan), Mr. Allaf (Syrian Arab Republic) and Mr. Khaddoumi (Palestine Liberation Organization) took places at the Security Council table; Mr. Jamul (Qatar), Mr. Ghobash (United Arab Emirates) and Mr. Petric (Yugoslavia) took the places reserved for them at the side of the Council chamber.
2. The PRESIDENT: I have also received a letter from the representative of Mauritania containing a request to be invited in accordance with rule 37 of the Provisional rules of procedure, to participate in the discussion of the item on the Council's agenda. I propose, if I hear no objection, to invite the representative of Mauritania to participate in the discussion, in conformity with the usual practice and with the relevant provisions of the Charter and the provisional rules of procedure. Since there are no objections, I invite that representative to take the place reserved for him at the side of the Council chamber, on the usual understanding that he will be invited to take a place at the Council table whenever he wishes to address the Council.
At the invitation of the President, Mr. El Hassen (Mauritania) took the place reserved for him at the side of the Council chamber.
3. The PRESIDENT: The Security Council will now continue its examination of the question on the agenda. The first speaker is the representative of Qatar. In accordance with the procedure followed yesterday [1871st meeting], I would ask the representative of Jordan to withdraw temporarily from his seat at the Council table in order that his place may be taken by the representative of Qatar. I invite that representative to take a place at the Council table and to make his statement.
4. Mr. JAMAL (Qatar): Sir, allow me to congratulate you upon your assumption of the post of President of the Security Council for the month of January. Your exceptional qualities and skills are well known to us here within the United Nations, as well as beyond. We are confident that they will be a great asset to our deliberations. I also should like to thank you, Mr. President, and the members of the Security Council for giving my delegation the opportunity to participate in this very important debate, which my Government considers with great concern. Equally, I should like to extend, on behalf of my delegation, a warm and heart-felt welcome to the delegation of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), which is participating in the Security Council's debate on an item involving the Palestinian people.
5. The delegation of Qatar welcomed Security Council resolution 381 (1975) of 30 November 1975, which invited the PLO to participate in the general debate on the Middle East and the Palestine question. Indeed, it was a historic decision of the Council and should be viewed in the context of the resolutions at the twenty-ninth and thirtieth sessions of the General Assembly relating to Palestine, notably resolution 3375 (XXX) of 10 November 1975, whereby the Assembly called for "the invitation of the Palestine Liberation Organization, the representative of the Palestinian people, to participate in all efforts, deliberations and conferences on the Middle East which are held under the auspices of the United Nations, on an equal footing with other parties."
6. From this standpoint, it is important to reassert my Government's conviction that no final and lasting peace with justice in the Middle East can take place without the effective participation of the PLO, which has been widely recognized by the Members of the United Nations as the genuine representative of the Palestinian people, and the implementation of resolutions adopted by the Security Council and the General Assembly.
7. The Security Council has been considering the Middle East question for nearly three decades in order to resolve the problems of the constant tension caused by the Zionist occupation of Arab land and the denial to the Palestinian Arab people of the exercise of their rights, the control of their destiny and their self-determination. What are the results of those endeavours? What have we accomplished in all these deliberations? The results are well known: increased Zionist expansion, disregard of world public opinion, and atrocities of aggression committed by the Israeli authorities against the Arab and Palestinian peoples.
8. My delegation shares the grave concern expressed by previous speakers at the measures being taken by Israel to consolidate its hold over the occupied Arab territories. The change in the legal and demographic character of the occupied territories, the establishment of Israeli settlements in the area, the economic subservience of the occupied territories, the economic and political objectives of the occupying Power, the utilization of the people of the occupied territories as cheap labour: all those actions contradict the express provisions of international law and the resolutions of the United Nations. In particular, the sensibilities of millions all over the world to whom Jerusalem is sacred cannot tolerate the Holy City being treated as the spoils of war. The action taken by Israel to annex that city are in defiance of the numerous resolutions of the General Assembly and the Security Council on Jerusalem and other cities in the occupied Arab lands. Those acts also contradict the principle of the non-acquisition of territory by the use of force.
9. The United Nations has adopted more resolutions concerning the Middle East problem and the Palestine question than any other matter of international interest. But Israel has failed to implement even one of those resolutions. On the contrary, since its birth Israel has violated the Charter and refused to implement any resolution connected in any way with the rights of the Arab people of Palestine or with other Arab States which have been suffering from racist Zionist aggression since 1947. The position of zionism in the Middle East is founded on the precarious grounds of aggression and domination. As an alien element, zionism can survive only by maintaining the tension and turmoil which have constituted its history since 1947.
10. My Government fully believes that in order to solve the question of the Middle East and its core, namely, the Palestine question, and to generate momentum towards a lasting and just solution, we must consider this question as one of flagrant Israeli aggression against the Palestinian and Arab peoples and put an end to this aggression by forcing the aggressor to withdraw from all the occupied Arab territories and prevent the aggressor from reaping the fruits of his aggression by giving full recognition to the already recognized inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, as stated in General Assembly resolution 3236 (XXIX).
11. Unless these two conditions are fulfilled and, above all, the recognition of the national rights of the Palestinian people, it is our belief that a final and lasting peace with justice will not prevail in the Middle East. On that basis, we believe that Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973) failed to recognize the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, represented by the PLO; the resolutions referred only to the Palestinian refugees and not to the root cause of why they became refugees and from where they came.
12. The absence of the representative of Israel and Israel's boycott of the Security Council debate is a clear sign of Israel's attitude to the resolutions adopted by the General Assembly. The precarious situation in the Middle East remains in perpetual movement, full of hazards. The tragedy of Palestine goes beyond its geographic borders and more than ever requires from the Council that it take the matter seriously and provide a reasonable basis for a just and lasting solution to the Middle East problem including the Palestine question, namely, the restoration of the land of Palestine and other Arab lands to their peoples and the return of the people of Palestine and other Arabs to their homelands.
13. It is in the light of these considerations that we hope that the Security Council will be able meaningfully and with all sincerity to discharge its obligations and to use the means provided by the Charter of the United Nations to force Israel to comply with the resolutions of the Organization which it has ignored for a very long time.
14. Mr. JACKSON (Guyana): Mr. President, at the very outset of my participation in this debate, I wish to associate myself and my delegation with the sentiments you expressed two days ago when paying a tribute to the memory of Premier Chou En-lai of the People's Republic of China. My own Prime Minister, Comrade Forbes Burnham, made the following statement on being apprised of the sad news of Chou En-lai's death:
"I am deeply shocked by the news of the death of Comrade Chou En-lai, a truly great revolutionary leader who for over a quarter of a century was a central figure in the transformation of China into a truly socialist State, a man who was in the vanguard of China's struggle for the creation of a just society for all her people.
"He had been Premier of China since the birth of the Republic. His intellect, capacity for hard work, skilful diplomacy and commitment to his country's development made him one of the most outstanding statesmen of the twentieth century.
"He was a tireless champion of socialism and an indefatigable opponent of imperialism, and his death is a loss not only to China but to all progressive forces of mankind.
"Guyana and China have over the years developed close and fraternal relations and it was just under a year ago that I and members of my delegation were privileged to meet with Chou En-lai at Peking, where we shared thoughts and a common understanding of many of the serious international issues of the day.
"I take this opportunity to say to the Government and the people of China that we in Guyana share with them today the sorrow which they all must feel on this sad occasion and to convey to them our deepest sympathy."
15. Mr. President, it is a fortunate accident that at the beginning of this year 1976 you, Mr. Salim Ahmed Salim, an eminent son of Africa, a most worthy representative of your great country, the United Republic of Tanzania, a true friend and a real brother, should be presiding over the Council's deliberations. Your distinction as an intrepid fighter unwaveringly upholding principles that are lofty, your vast skills as a diplomat, your varied talents, your erudition and, above all, your keen sensitivity towards what is ennobling, what is just and what is right are matters of public record widely acclaimed. For me personally and for my entire delegation, this is an occasion that gives rise to immense satisfaction.
16. In pledging my own and my delegation's total support of and cooperation with you as President, I should like to say that this unequivocal pledge flows logically and irreversibly from our own close Personal relationship and snared perceptions, from the deep friendship which the leaders of our countries enjoy, and from the bonds that link our peoples in common struggle, symbolized by the Treaty of Mutual Solidarity and Cooperation which our two countries included. For its part, Mr. President, Guyana is assured of leadership of the highest quality during this month.
17. May I take this opportunity also to do two things: first, to thank Mr. Ivor Richard of the United Kingdom, who so skilfully and patiently presided over our work during the month of December 1975; secondly, to join with you, Sir, and with other delegations in welcoming most cordially the delegations of Benin, the Libyan Arab Republic, Pakistan, Panama and Romania to the Council. Each one comes to the Council with a fine record of constructive contribution. We look forward to working closely and cooperatively with all of them.
18. The earlier part of our consideration of the item on the agenda, "The Middle East problem including the Palestinian question", was consumed by discussions—rather lengthy discussions—on important aspects of procedural questions. And during those discussions there were verbal essays on several matters. My delegation did not participate in those discussions, but would nevertheless at this stage like to offer its comments on one aspect of them.
19. Over the last few months there has been a virtual bombast against organs of the United Nations—first the General Assembly and now the Security Council. While we enter contestation neither on the purity of intention nor on the genuineness of motivations, we insist on our entitlement to pronounce on the accuracy of the interpretation and to challenge the authenticity of the judgement. Portentous words conveying prophetic sentiments have been flung at us with all the trappings of an organized campaign. And in the interstices of those expressions have been concealed indications of intimidation and pressure.
20. The phenomenon of modern professional sport has given legitimacy to two concepts—that of intimidation and that of the superstar. If I assume for a brief while a posture which I have only just criticized, it is only to enable me to say: let us confine those concepts to that area of human activity and let us not by a process of osmosis allow them to intrude into our work in the Organization.
21. Quite seriously, in several countries that are States Members of the United Nations, peoples' faith in institutions had been profoundly shaken. In some of those countries, domestic institutions are also being subjected to rigorous inquiry and intense scrutiny. It is a fact that in those countries.the operations of several domestic institutions are under attack and there is a real and genuine crisis of confidence in them. And so it is that as a consequence, as understandable as it is logical, spokesmen in and for those countries have criticized the operations of international institutions, including this one, the United Nations. Those of us who have faith not only in the role but also in the efficacy of the United Nations should be tolerant, for we believe that ultimately such criticisms will be judged as counter-productive. Let us, therefore, be vigilant in resisting pressure and intimidation, and patient while those peoples use time to recommit their hopes and aspirations to the institutions they helped to create.
22. Turning to the substantive aspects of the issue before the Council, my delegation wishes to acknowledge the participation of representatives of the PLO in the debates and to welcome them most warmly. Guyana voted in favour of their participation and we are proud to be one of the members which made this possible. I venture to suggest that whatever decisions we take at the end of our deliberations, the fact that the legitimate representatives of the dispossessed and dispersed Palestinian people are with us and have contributed to our deliberations is a matter of the utmost significance. For it accurately reflects the will of the vast majority of the international community that no longer shall the rights of the Palestinian people remain peripheral to the search for peace in the Middle East. The Palestinian question is not tangential to the problems of the Middle East. Few doubt-indeed many assert—that the restoration of the rights of the Palestinian people is central to the solution of those problems.
23. My own Foreign Minister, Comrade Frederick Wills, speaking in the general debate at the thirtieth session of the General Assembly, said:
"The prospects for lasting peace in the Middle East begin and end with the rights of the Palestinian people. For their struggle is an integral part of the liberation struggle throughout the world. This area, the ancient cradle of so many cultures and religions, is today the arena in which is played out the competition and conflict of the interests of major Powers, Powers which are intent on supporting the expansionist aims of Zionism, or securing the control of communications or of energy resources.
"In the welter of such turbulence we must continue to insist that the foremost responsibility of the international community in this area is the restoration of the rights of the Palestinian people."1
24. I believe that it is universally accepted that once the negotiating process for the settlement of disputes is embraced, all the parties involved in any dispute should participate in that process. Thus it is a sine qua non that in the search for peace in the Middle East all the parties concerned, and most certainly the Palestinian people through their authentic representative, the PLO, should be involved in all those processes. That attests to the relevance of General Assembly resolution 3375 (XXX). It is in that wise that my delegation regrets the decision of the Israeli Government not to participate in these debates.
25. The problems and the issues we face today in regard to the Middle East are nearly as old as the history of the United Nations itself. The vicissitudes of international consideration of, and action on, the situation in the Middle East including the Palestinian question are well documented and clearly expressed Extensive recitation by the delegation of Guyana is therefore not required. Yet it is clearly necessary for me to sketch the background against which Guyana approaches the current debates and to give our perception of the way forward.
26. As a country which ardently pursues a policy of nonalignment, Guyana stands by the collective affirmations of conferences of nonaligned countries on this question. At Dar Es Salaam in April 1970, at Lusaka in September 1970, in the capital of my own country, Georgetown, in August 1972, at Algiers in September 1973, and more recently at Lima in August 1975, the nonaligned have stood steadfast by the only principles which can ensure just and lasting peace in the Middle East. And before 1970 nonaligned countries had, at Belgrade in September 1961, at Cairo in October 1964 and again at Belgrade in July 1969, affirmed and reaffirmed their commitment to those essential principles. Enumerated skeletally, those principles are: respect for the rights of the Palestinian people and their entitlement to a home; the non-acquisition of territory by force and the right of all the States in the Middle East to exist within secure and internationally recognized boundaries.
27. But for Guyana the Palestinian tragedy—and it can be called by no other name—has a special and far-reaching significance. For earlier in this century there was a serious proposal, based on the recommendations of a joint Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry on Palestine appointed by the then President of the United States of America, President Roosevelt, for the settlement in my country of Jewish refugees escaping persecution in Europe. The proposal was to dispose of our land without consulting us. Such was the ordering then of international relations. However, the interposition of bureaucratic delays, combined with the outbreak of the second European civil war, put paid to those plans. Yet, in the light of that non-episode in Guyana, and against the background of the perplexities over time concerning the land which was Palestine, there is a present danger that in my part of the world, in the north-eastern sector of South America, there can still in this era be contemplations of similar induced migrations.
28. The war of aggression of 1967 and the war of liberation of 1973 represent neither the beginning of the Middle East crisis nor the creation of the Palestinian question. But both wars in retrospect are important milestones regarding both those issues, so inextricably linked. For in their aftermath, these wars have had three essential consequences. First, they have assisted in quickening the conscience of the international community to the gross injustice of the suppression and the denial of the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people. Secondly, they have reinforced the need for action—collective action by the international community—to restore those rights to the Palestinians and to deal adequately with States which still believe that the territory of other States can be acquired by force, that the international community will acquiesce in such action, and that an investment can be made in the application of such an unworthy tenet. And thirdly, they have brought a realization one hopes, a permanent realization—to Israel that it must face up to the realities of the situation.
29. Fundamental psychological and attitudinal changes have occurred. They are not what they used to be. The effects of wars, actions taken in other fields, and plain and simple elementary justice have led effectively to the erosion of stereotypes based on inverted concepts of innate superiority and divine right, stereotypes which had acquired a status almost equivalent to that of folklore. And the General Assembly, by its several resolutions at its twenty-ninth and thirtieth sessions, has made a great contribution to the evolution of international thinking in this regard.
30. My delegation believes that these discussions on the Middle East problem, including the Palestinian question, are taking place with a clearer perception of the realities. The involvement of the Palestinian people is in sharper and bolder relief. The full meaning of the Palestinian diaspora is more clearly perceived. The true nature of Israeli calculations in the "creation of facts" in occupied Arab territories is now more widely acknowledged. The need for a regime of peace in the Middle East not based on the pursuit of selective interests is almost universally recognized.
31. In the light of what I have said before, I believe that this debate provides the international community in general, and the Security Council in particular, with a most timely opportunity to appraise rationally and objectively the flow of history in the Middle East since the creation of Israel. It provides an opportunity for us to arrive at wise, mature and judicious dispositions which, operating within the limits of what is Practicable, will restore legitimate national rights to the dispossessed and dispersed Palestinian people now a nation without a State. For this is the essential prerequisite to a peace in the area that would be as lasting as it is just. Guyana, for its part, urges that this opportunity not be used for vituperative recrimination.
32. I turn now in more specific form to my delegation's ideas and thoughts on what those dispositions should be. Perhaps I should first of all point out what Guyana believes to be signals of danger. We in the Council should be on guard lest a desire to atone for past misdeeds on the part of some—and I do not intend to be ungenerous—should so compromise us in the Council as to lead to the continued repudiation of the legitimate rights of others by seeming to institutionalize a current diaspora. I refer to the dispersal of the Palestinian Arabs. In the second place, should not take decisions which will encourage the belief that the peace-keeping forces which the Council has authorized to be stationed in the Sinai and the Golan Heights, and to the upkeep of which so many of us contribute, are there to serve the interests of a single State. They are there, rather, to serve the interests of the international community as a whole. The forces are to be commended on their performance. We pay tribute to them and to their Governments. But while we express thanks to them, it is imperative that we contemplate the limited nature of their role. So let no one subvert, or attempt to subvert, their true role.
33. The times today are different from when resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973) were adopted by the Security Council. Nevertheless, the essential prescriptions of those resolutions remain as valid as when they were adopted. But they need updating to take account of current perceptions and the requirements which the circumstances of today dictate. By that statement, Guyana implies neither a legal nor constitutional objection to either document. We accept those realities as we accept today's.
34. My delegation has been, on occasion, impressed by argument advanced in the Security Council urging us to be even-handed; to take what has been called a balanced position, especially in a delicate situation. Adherence to that view would lead one to stick to principles based on equity and justice. In that context it is really difficult to see how the Council can continue to recognize the rights of the Israelis and ignore those of the Palestinians. But this is not all that is required for that regime of peace in the Middle East which we all desire. For peace to come to the Middle East, Guyana believes that three essential principles must be operative: the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people to a homeland must be adequately satisfied; Israel must withdraw from all Arab territories occupied since 5 June 1967, and do so quickly; and all States in the area, including the State of Israel, must have the right to exist and to do so within boundaries that are universally recognized and scrupulously respected.
35. But the conditions for peace are of paramount importance. No secure peace is attainable unless the Palestinians, through their legitimate representative, the PLO, are fully involved in the processes which are employed in the search for peace. They are central to that search for peace. Israel must shed, not by a wilting process, the cloak of intransigence and the mantle of obstinacy which it has assumed for so long. The United Nations, and the Security Council in particular, while remaining flexible enough to employ all possible mechanisms like the Geneva Peace Conference on the Middle East, which might appear to hold out prospects for advancing peace, should nevertheless no longer allow itself to be shunted into the "sidings". In this connexion my delegation is of the view that the Geneva Conference, which operates under the auspices of the United Nations, should be required periodically to submit reports to the Council. Finally, Member States to which have been ascribed, or which have assumed especial responsibilities in this matter should allow neither the interests of the international community nor those of peace for the parties in the Middle East to be subordinate to their own perceived national interests.
36. Those, then, are the views of my delegation. We are prepared to participate in any constructive consultations designed to permit the Council to reach decisions which will advance the prospects for peace in that troubled area of the world.
37. Mr. SAITO (Japan): Mr. President, since this is the first occasion on which my delegation has taken the floor this year, I should like to begin by expressing my congratulations on the fact that you are presiding over our deliberations this month. Your dynamic leadership and outstanding ability as Chairman of the Special Committee on the Situation with regard to the Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples and your contribution to the achievements of other United Nations bodies, notably the Security Council, are well known to all of us. I feel certain that your distinguished qualities as a diplomat will provide excellent guidance to the Council during our consideration of the extremely important issues that confront us. I wish also to express my congratulations and thanks to Mr. Richard of the United Kingdom for his most successful term as President of the Council last month.
38. At the same time I wish to welcome the representatives of the five newly elected members of the Council—the People's Republic of Benin, the Libyan Arab Republic, Pakistan, Panama, and the Socialist Republic of Romania. We look forward to working with them closely and we feel certain that we shall establish the same relationship of co-operation and understanding as we maintained with their predecessors, the representatives of the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic, Costa Rica, Iraq, the Islamic Republic of Mauritania and the United Republic of Cameroon.
39. I have the further and painful duty of expressing to the representative of the People's Republic of China the most sincere condolences of my delegation on the death of Premier Chou En-lai. His superb achievements as one of the architects of modern China were recognized throughout the world. The Government and people of Japan appreciated particularly his constructive role in the negotiations that made it possible to normalize relations between the People's Republic of China and Japan.
40. The United Nations has been concerned with the problem of the Middle East for over a quarter of a century, and we must seek a comprehensive solution of this problem. Therefore it is the earnest hope of my delegation that on the occasion we shall have a constructive discussion on the achievement of peace in the Middle East, and we should not try to adopt a resolution taking the side of only one of the parties. I Instead we should try to seek a solution by consensus which will be acceptable to all the parties concerned. In order to attain this goal it is desirable that all the parties concerned fully participate. My delegation appeals to the Israeli Government to join in our current discussions on the problem of the Middle East including the Palestinian question.
41. On this occasion I should like to state the basic position of the Japanese Government on the Middle East conflict. The comprehensive position of the Japanese Government on the solution of the Middle East conflict was set forth in our statement on 22 November 1973, which, in essence, is as follows.
42. The Government of Japan is of the view that the following principles should be adhered to in achieving a peace settlement: the inadmissibility of the acquisition and occupation of any territories by use of force; the withdrawal of Israeli forces from all the territories occupied in the 1967 war; respect for the integrity and security of the territories of all countries in the area and the need of guarantees to that end; and the recognition of and respect for the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations in bringing about a just and lasting peace in the Middle East.
43. The Government of Japan has consistently hoped that a just and lasting peace in the Middle East will be achieved through the prompt and complete implementation of Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973) and has sought to encourage efforts by the parties and countries concerned to achieve a solution through peaceful negotiations. Since 1971 my Government has recognized the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations.
44. My delegation recognizes that the Palestinian problem is no longer solely the problem of the refugees and that there can be no just solution of this problem without a political settlement in conformity with the: principles of self-determination, based upon the Charter of the United Nations. It is the view of my delegation that our discussions here on the Middle East problem should take into account the following considerations:
—First, the Palestinian question is the central issue; of the Middle East problem. Without a solution of this; question, therefore, there can be no true solution of the Middle East problem.
—Secondly, a solution of this problem should be based on Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973). However, concerning the Palestinian people, since those resolutions deal with the problem] solely in terms of refugees, it is equally necessary for the Council, while reaffirming those resolutions, to acknowledge the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people in accordance with the Charter.
— Thirdly, parties to the negotiations should utilize the forum of the Geneva Conference, which should be reconvened at the earliest possible date.
—Fourthly and lastly, Israel and the PLO should conduct a dialogue, in whatever form it may be, with a view to facilitating a peaceful solution of the question.
45. It is the hope of my delegation that the Security Council will find a harmonious and balanced formula which will reflect these points I have listed. We understand that all the parties concerned are sincerely seeking the early achievement of a just and durable settlement of the Middle East problem. The present situation, in our view, offers a great opportunity to achieve peace in the area, which for so many years has been sought in the United Nations and outside. In concluding, my delegation urges the parties directly concerned to examine the realities of the situation and renew their efforts for a solution.
46. Mr. de GUIRINGAUD (France) (interpretation from French): When in November last it invited us to agree to meet this month to consider "The Middle East problem including the Palestinian question", Syria, together with the Group of Arab States, took a justified decision which reflected its legitimate impatience at the fact that the dynamic movement towards peace which we hoped would have got under way two years ago had been bogged down. It is only natural that the Council, which under the Charter is the organ primarily charged with the maintenance of peace and international security, should be seized of the entire problem, inasmuch as recently only specific aspects of the problem or individual incidents had been considered and the prolonged absence of a settlement would pose a serious threat to peace and security. It is a matter of regret that, considering the experience that it has had in this matter, the Council has never dealt specifically with the Palestinian aspects of the problem. Today every member knows, or at least senses, that unless the Palestinian problem is taken into account there can be no settlement which is truly just and lasting. We regret the absence of Israel in this debate, to which we, for our part, have taken a constructive approach, in the sole interest of helping to bring about a settlement.
47.It may therefore be said that the full file on the case is before us today. We find there an important measure of achievement, one which should be preserved, in the form of the fundamental texts of resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973), which establish the principles of a settlement and indicate the path to that settlement. But we also find aspirations, proposals and reflections which deserve careful consideration. We also note that even when principles are recognized, the gap between the principles and their implementation has not noticeably narrowed. We should then first work to give fresh impetus to the dynamics of peace and, secondly, to encompass all aspects of the problem, namely, those which stem from the 1967 conflict and are well known, and those which relate to the recent growing awareness of the legitimate yearning of the Palestinian people to possess a homeland as do all other peoples. We should see to it that a just settlement of the Palestinian problem is brought about at the same time as recognition of secure and guaranteed frontiers for all the States of the area.
48. Nevertheless, when one is convinced, as France is, that there can be no peace in the Middle East except within the framework of an over-all settlement —and partial agreements can only be a step towards an over-all settlement—we believe that the components of that settlement are now rather obvious.
49. First and foremost, the Arab territories occupied as a result of the war of 1967 must be evacuated. First, that occupation in fact is contrary to the principles of the Charter, and secondly, no global settlement acceptable to the Arab countries is conceivable without the return of those territories.
50. Secondly, the rights of the Palestinian people to an independent homeland must be recognized. Unless and until those rights are satisfied, it is illusory to hope for a genuine peace in the Middle East. It goes without saying that it is not for us to determine for the interested parties themselves the nature and the status of that Palestinian homeland, which they should determine in the light of the opportunities offered by life in the area. In our view, it is important that at the present time it be recognized that a settlement of the Palestinian problem is an integral part of a global settlement. We should like to stress that we take as a very positive sign the progress in thinking on this point that has taken place practically everywhere over the past few months.
51. Thirdly, the right of all the States of the area to exist within frontiers which are recognized, guaranteed and consequently secure should be affirmed. While we call upon the entire international community, and first and foremost Israel, to admit the major political fact that the Palestinian people have a right to a homeland, we also call upon the same international community to confirm and recognize the rights which Israel enjoys as a State, on an equal footing with all other Members of the Organization. It is our responsibility to reconcile those rights, taking into consideration the human and historic legitimacy of a Palestinian homeland, while acting in such a way as to ensure that the State of Israel may coexist peacefully with all its neighbours, respecting the rights and obligations set forth in the Charter.
52. Turning now more specifically to guarantees, we believe that they are a fundamental question in the formulation of a settlement. The French Government has been giving active consideration to that matter. Prepared as we are to participate in international guarantees aimed at ensuring peace in the area, we shall, together with our European partners, put forward proposals in this regard at an appropriate time in the future.
53. Those are the fundamental principles which France believes should guide our quest for an over-all settlement, which alone can reconcile the concerns of all the parties because they do not separate the various elements of the problem. Similarly, we do not believe that it is possible to take action on one of the elements of the problem without also taking the others into account.
54. As regards the procedure which should be followed in seeking a settlement, it was established by Security Council resolution 338 (1973), which remains entirely valid. A settlement can emerge only from genuine negotiations among the parties. In this connexion, we are in favour of a Palestinian expression of views in the course of those negotiations. Inasmuch as a global settlement of the conflict presupposes recognition of the right of the Palestinians to enjoy a homeland, it is only natural that they should be allowed to put forward their views concerning precisely the exercise of that right. It is fitting then that they should be given the means to express their views in the normal course of events on the nature and the scope of the settlement of the Palestinian problem. We express the hope that the prerequisites will be met for a resumption of those negotiations which should make it possible for essential problems to be discussed. Of course, it is for the Security Council to follow very closely the developments in the negotiating process, to endorse results and to determine international guarantees which will make it possible to ensure the implementation of and respect for the agreements.
55. The Security Council has undertaken this exceedingly important debate at a time when people are wondering about the likelihood of a return to peace in the Middle East. In June and July 1973, following an initiative by Egypt, another debate on the question of the Middle East took place. That provided another opportunity for a peaceful settlement, within the frame-work of the United Nations, based on the implementation of resolution 242 (1967). Today, as before, the situation will remain explosive until the substance of the problem is dealt with. On the basis of texts and principles already recognized and by giving the new reality some meaning which guarantees consideration of the entire problem, it is up to us to make it possible for all the parties to seek together in a responsible manner the path to a settlement which redresses injustices and establishes finally a just and lasting peace in the Middle East.
56. Mr. RYDBECK (Sweden): Mr. President, before I turn to the matter on the agenda, let me congratulate you warmly on your assumption of the presidency of the Security Council. I am confident—yes I know—that your skill, amply evidenced in other organs of the United Nations where we have had the privilege to work under your chairmanship, your patience and your great experience will make an invaluable contribution to the work of the Council during this month, a month which promises to be one of the most intensive in the recent history of this body.
57. Permit me also to pay an equally warm tribute to your predecessor, Mr. Richard of the United Kingdom. With his eloquence, wit and most helpful sense of humour, he guided the Council with great skill through considerable difficulties during its equally heavily schedule in the month of December.
58. My delegation bids a warm welcome to the new members of the Council— Benin, the Libyan Arab Republic, Pakistan, Panama and Romania—and we look forward to close and friendly co-operation with them as we had the privilege to enjoy with their predecessors, the delegations of the Byelorussian SSR, Costa Rica, Iraq, Mauritania and the United Republic of Cameroon.
59. Now that the Security Council is debating the situation in the Middle East including the Palestinian question, in the opinion of the Swedish Government attention should, from the very outset be focused on the question of what should be the task of the Council in this matter. What can and what should the Council do to facilitate and speed up the process towards a peaceful solution of this tragic conflict? Is there anything that the Council should avoid or forgo in order not to make it more difficult for the parties to find the most effective ways of reaching such a solution?
60. There is no doubt that the Security Council has an important responsibility for the peaceful solution of this problem which constitutes a continuous threat to the peace in the area, with possible consequences for peace in the entire world. This responsibility derives from the Charter. The Council has therefore, for more than a quarter of a century now, consistently tried to prevent war and contribute to a just and lasting solution of the conflict. We must recognize that the Council has repeatedly been unsuccessful in its task. This makes it all the more important that we should approach our task this time both in a spirit of, clear realism and with deep sympathy for the peoples in the area who so often have had to endure the; sufferings of war and who have for so long lived in insecurity, anxiety and desperation.
61. It is a matter of great importance that the Council should arrive at a decision that can receive broad] support. Resolutions which are highly controversial cannot in the present situation be of benefit to any 3 party in the Middle East.
62. The basis for our deliberations must be, first and foremost, the two Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973). The principles embodied in those documents are still fully valid. We must not do anything that might change or weaken those principles. The Swedish delegation hopes that there is a common view on this score among the members of the Security Council. We must, however, also be aware of the fact that resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973) do not contain certain basic elements which are essential for a just and lasting peace in the Middle East.
63. It is now hardly disputed by anyone that during the previous attempts to reach a lasting solution the interests and rights of the Palestinian Arabs have not sufficiently been taken into account. It is now evident to all that the Palestinian Arabs have legitimate national interests and rights and that these must be fully taken into account in the search for a solution. At the same time, it must be strongly emphasized that the legitimate interests and rights of other peoples must not be sacrificed. The Swedish delegation considers it to be of decisive importance that the existence and independence of Israel, as well as of every other State in the area, be safeguarded within secure and recognized borders.
64. A recognition of the right to self-determination of the Palestinian Arabs also implies a recognition of their right to present their views in international debates where their interests are clearly involved. This is the reason why the Swedish Government, in the General Assembly and in the Security Council, has supported the proposal that the representatives of the PLO—which in our view is the most authoritative spokesman for the Palestinian Arabs—be invited to participate in the debates. We believe that such participation should be based on the recognition of the principles embodied in the Charter of the United Nations, among which is the right of all Members to self-determination and territorial integrity.
65. It is also important that States non-members of the Security Council whose interests are directly concerned by the debates in the Council should not hesitate to avail themselves of the right to present their views before the Council in the customary manner. Holding this view, my delegation would like to address an appeal to Israel to reconsider its present attitude of not utilizing this right.
66. As already stated, the Swedish Government considers that the principles contained in resolutions 242 (1967) and 337 (1973) remain valid and should guide the efforts to reach a final solution. In regard to the important question of the borders of Israel this means that the situation that existed before the June war of 1967 must be the point of departure. The Swedish Government has consistently maintained the principle laid down in resolution 242 (1967) that acquisition of territories by force is unacceptable. Likewise, it is imperative that the final borders eventually to be defined be secure and recognized.
67. This demand is based on the realization that peace in the area can only be permanent if it is based on mutual political confidence just as much as on considerations of military security. Without this dual aim the peace would be a mere truce under which the peoples would live in constant fear and which might change into open war at any moment.
68. It is evident that the question of the methods to be used for reaching a solution to the Middle East problem is of particular—perhaps decisive—importance in the present situation. Experience shows that results can be reached by various methods. Bilateral or multilateral talks may give the best result, depending on the circumstances. Partial agreements must be welcomed, provided that they form part of a continuous development towards a total and final agreement.
69. We consider it of utmost importance that the parties refrain throughout from any use of violence. The permanent members of the Security Council, and in particular the two leading nuclear weapons States, have a special responsibility for accelerating a peaceful development. The United States and the Soviet Union have a greater responsibility and also greater possibilities than other Powers for creating conditions for a final agreement. The arms with which the States in the area are equipped come essentially from these two Powers. New military conflicts in the area could endanger detente and lead to disputes between the two major Powers which might in the end threaten world peace.
70. It is therefore an inescapable fact that the rest of the world expects the United States and the Soviet Union to intensify their efforts and speedily to make use of all possibilities to cooperate towards finding a solution which will create a lasting peace. To state this does not, of course, amount to an acceptance of the right of a Power or Powers to dictate the conditions of the peace, to force the parties in the area to accept a solution which violates their fundamental interests. Such a solution would not only be unfair. It would have no prospects in the long-term perspective of creating a real peace. Sweden would furthermore strongly urge that the dangerous arms race in the area be put to a stop. What I have said here indicates the principles which will guide the work of the Swedish delegation during the present deliberations in the Security Council on the Middle East.
71. The Security Council should, in our opinion, clearly indicate that it continues to take an active interest in the matter and that it expects result to follow from the various forms of efforts which will now have to be undertaken in order that a final solution may be approached. The result of these efforts should be reported to the Council and given the necessary international authority by the Council.
72. However, whatever decisions the Council may arrive at, they can never replace the will of the parties themselves finally to put an end to the state of war through negotiations and agreements, to start an epoch of peace and. to this end, realistically review their respective positions. It is sometimes said that time works for one party or the other, and that for this reason an agreement is not urgent. To the Swedish Government, such an attitude means a dangerous playing with fire. Status quo does not give peace. Time does not work for peace. The people—the Governments—must want, and then work for, such changes as will lead to agreements, understanding and a lasting peace.
The meeting rose at 5.10 p.m.
1/ See Official Records of the General Assembly. Thirtieth Session. Plenary Meetings. 2370th meeting.