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        Security Council
26 March 2010

Security Council
Sixty-fifth year

6322nd meeting
Wednesday, 26 March 2010, 10 a.m.

New York

President: Mr. Hariri (Lebanon)
Members:Austria Mr. Mayr-Harting
Bosnia and Herzegovina Mr. Barbalić
Brazil Mrs. Viotti
China Mr. Li Baodong
France Mr. Araud
Gabon Mr. Moungara Moussotsi
Japan Mr. Takasu
Mexico Mr. Heller
Nigeria Mrs. Ogwu
Russian Federation Mr. Pankin
Turkey Mr. Apakan
Uganda Mr. Rugunda
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland Mr. Burt
United States of America Ms. Anderson


Maintenance of international peace and security

The meeting was called to order at 10.10 a.m.

Adoption of the agenda

The agenda was adopted.

Maintenance of international peace and security

Intercultural dialogue for peace and security

Letter dated 19 May 2010 from the Permanent Representative of Lebanon to the United Nations addressed to the Secretary-General (S/2010/248)

The President ( spoke in Arabic ): The Security Council will now being its consideration of the item on its agenda. The Security Council is meeting in accordance with the understanding reached in its prior consultations.

I wish to draw the attention of the members of the Council to document S/2010/248, which contains a letter dated 19 May 2010 from the Permanent Representative of Lebanon to the Secretary-General, transmitting a concept paper for the item under consideration.

On behalf of the Council, I extend a warm welcome to His Excellency Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

On behalf of the Council, I also extend a warm welcome to His Excellency Mr. Alistair Burt, Member of Parliament, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs of the United Kingdom.

I shall now make statement in my capacity as Prime Minister of Lebanon to begin today’s discussion.


Dialogue does not ignore contradiction or deny democratic competition; it is, rather, a mode of managing plurality so that differences do not generate hostility or cause divisions. Dialogue is not a process of negotiations conditioned by power relations, but a contribution to changing these relations, even in relative terms, in order to ensure equal footing among dialogue partners. That is why the practice of dialogue at the global level converges with diplomatic action driven by international law and rejects the logic of might, imposition and double standards.

Be that as it may, such an affirmation does not dissipate the ambiguities that colour its reality. The advocacy of dialogue among nations and the promotion of a culture of peace raise doubts among many people about their credibility and utility, as well as fears that they may function as a pretext or cover for an ulterior political motive alien to its raison d’être. Dialogue is not true to its meaning if unavowed objectives hide behind its stated aims. It does not bear fruit unless its partners agree to build equitable relations. Maintaining hegemony, oppression and injustice without raising fundamental ethical questions renders dialogue itself questionable.

This is true in our country, which has been subject to 25 years of Israeli occupation and recurrent Israeli wars. Thousands of Lebanese citizens have been killed, our economy and stability have been severely affected by Israeli threats and massacres, and the occupation of parts of our land continues. It is legitimate to ask how dialogue can build confidence and new relationships in the context of the ongoing Israeli occupation of Palestinian and Arab lands and the persistent denial of the national and human rights of the Palestinian people, and more particularly their rights to return and to an independent State, with Jerusalem as its capital. In other words, the spirit of justice and respect for international law and legitimacy must prevail if an authentic dialogue is to occur. This is all the more true since Jerusalem, the city of peace and meeting place of the believers of the monotheistic religions, cannot fulfil its historical vocation unless its people are freed from injustice, changes in its demography and character cease, and an end is put to its occupation.

I am sure that we are all aware that establishing a just and genuine peace in Palestine, as called for in the Arab Peace Initiative, would have a substantial impact on relations between cultures and religions. Moreover, a just peace is necessary if dialogue is to succeed as an approach to crisis-solving and achieving genuine rapprochement between the Western world and the Arab and Muslim worlds.


I now resume my functions as President of the Security Council.


I shall now give the floor to the members of the Council.

Mr. Burt (United Kingdom): ...


In the Middle East, the unresolved Israeli-Palestinian issue has been a source of anger and resentment for over 60 years. It is one of the biggest obstacles to intercultural dialogue and understanding, particularly among Muslims, Jews and Christians. We will work for peace in the Middle East with a secure and universally recognized Israel living alongside a sovereign and viable Palestinian State.

The current process of proximity talks offers hope for a solution. We welcome and support the United States efforts. We call on the parties to continue working to narrow the gaps between them and to take the bold political decisions necessary to achieving a lasting peace. The region must play its role, too, by supporting dialogue and negotiation and taking steps to build a greater sense of trust.


Mr. Takasu (Japan): ...


Japan is a strong advocate of human security, with its conviction that every individual — irrespective of religion, race, sex or place of residence — is entitled to enjoy a peaceful, healthy life with dignity, free from fear and free from want. Intercultural dialogue presupposes the importance of promoting the human security of people concerned. Japan has been bold in increasing opportunities for intercultural dialogue, including organizing dialogue among civilizations between Japan and the Islamic world, exchange programmes for youth, women and young diplomats from various cultural backgrounds, and an Islamic, Israeli and Palestinian youth exchange programme to advance the Middle East peace process. We also appreciate the strong initiative of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia on dialogue among religions and civilizations.


Ms. Anderson (United States of America): I would like to thank you, Mr. President, and thank the Secretary-General for the important remarks he made today.

Mr. President, let me begin by thanking you for your recent visit to Washington, D.C. Your visit highlighted the enduring strength of the bilateral relationship between the United States and Lebanon, as well as the many common goals we share, including reaching a comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace. The United States continues to strongly support Lebanon’s independence and sovereignty and the full implementation of resolutions 1559 (2004), 1680 (2006) and 1701 (2006).

We are pleased to note that there have been two rounds of proximity talks between Israelis and Palestinians already. We believe that through good-faith negotiations the parties can agree to an outcome that ends the conflict and reconciles the Palestinian goal of an independent and viable State based on the 1967 lines, with agreed swaps, and Israel’s goal of a Jewish State with secure and recognized borders that reflect subsequent developments and meet Israel’s security requirements.

The United States recognizes that Jerusalem is a deeply, profoundly important issue for Israelis and Palestinians, for Jews, Muslims and Christians. We believe that through good-faith negotiations, the parties can agree on an outcome that realizes the aspirations of both parties for Jerusalem and that safeguards its status for people around the world.

We call again on our international partners, both inside and outside this Council, to promote an atmosphere of cooperation between the parties. We renew our call for Arab States to advance the promise of the Arab Peace Initiative and take steps that show Israelis, Palestinians and their own citizens that peace is possible and will bring tangible benefits.


Mr. Apakan (Turkey): ...


We believe that the United Nations, as the sole international forum with universal membership, must take the lead towards that end and exert every effort to promote intercultural dialogue. And, given the negative security implications of any failure to do that, the Security Council should also assume its fair share of responsibility while dealing with conflict situations.

That is true also because we know today that our security cannot be ensured by military means alone. Intercultural misconceptions are sometimes at the core of the conflicts with which we have to grapple in the Council. Hence, we need comprehensive strategies that address the root causes of these misconceptions, be they historical, cultural, social or economic. Issues related to intercultural dialogue should therefore have their rightful place in our policy formulations. As you mentioned in your introductory remarks, Mr. President, peace in the Middle East is certainly one of those areas that would benefit from such a dialogue. Overall, respect for different cultures and dialogue help moderation and reconciliation in conflict situations.


Mr. Heller (Mexico) (spoke in Spanish ): ...


My country hopes that the Middle East will become an example of this in upcoming years, enjoying peace and security for all States, including Israel and Palestine.


Mr. Mayr-Harting (Austria): ...


In your remarks, Sir, you touched upon the conflict in the Middle East, which is clearly one of the areas where a meaningful dialogue between both sides is essential and indispensable in the search for common understanding. To that end, dialogue efforts should be concentrated on concrete goals and objectives in order to contribute to building trust and to generate real added value. We obviously also share the view that Jerusalem, with its unique heritage and tradition, can and should play a key role as a place of dialogue and encounter among cultures and civilizations.

We believe that the Security Council can make important contributions to promoting dialogue among cultures and civilizations with a view, in particular, to enhancing international peace and security in relation to relevant situations on its agenda. The Council could more actively encourage steps towards meaningful dialogue to help prevent and manage conflict and to build sustainable peace, both in international and intra-State conflicts, where appropriate.


The meeting rose at 12.05 p.m.

This record contains the text of speeches delivered in English and of the interpretation of speeches delivered in the other languages. The final text will be printed in the Official Records of the Security Council . Corrections should be submitted to the or iginal 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.

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