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Source: Department of Public Information (DPI)
General Assembly
29 September 2012

General Assembly
GA/11297

        Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Sixty-seventh General Assembly
Plenary
18th Meeting (AM)

FOREIGN MINISTERS URGE MEMBER STATES TO TAKE CHARGE OF EFFORTS AIMED

AT STRENGTHENING MULTILATERAL SYSTEM AS GENERAL DEBATE CONTINUES


Speakers Stress Rule of Law, Security Council Reform amid Escalating Crises


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Background

The General Assembly met this morning to continue its general debate for the sixty-seventh session.

Statements

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ÖSSUR SKARPHÉÐINSSON, Minister for Foreign Affairs and External Trade of Iceland, said the Parliament had unanimously voted to recognize Palestinian as an independent, sovereign State. Iceland had a good diplomatic relationship with Palestine. The United Nations had recently estimated that Gaza would no longer be “liveable” by 2020 unless urgent action was taken to improve the water supply, power, health and basic education. “The deplorable living conditions described in the United Nations report demonstrate only too well that the situation in Palestine is unacceptable to anyone who respects human dignity,” he said. “I have visited Gaza,” and met with fishermen who were not allowed to fish in the waters off Gaza and children whose lives had been made miserable by poverty, violence and a blockade that had been described as an open prison. He had seen how the human rights of people in the West Bank were violated every day by a man-made barrier that cut through their roads, schools and lives. Israelis wanted to live in peace, and so they deserved. The best way to ensure that was a two-State solution, which would benefit both the Israelis and the Palestinians. Reacting to the Israeli Prime Minister’s speech on Thursday, he said: “Don’t bomb Iran, not this year, not next year. Don’t start another war in the Middle East,” while calling on the Iranian President not to build a bomb. “Let diplomacy work, not rabblerousing or fear-mongering,” he said.

Democracy matured and only got better with time, and the Arab Spring was just the beginning, he said. As friends and supporters, he urged all to ensure the Arab Spring would advance the rights of all people, towards societies of democracy and social justice. The international community must unite to end the violence in Syria, seek a peaceful solution and ensure that those who committed atrocities would face their responsibility in an international court of law. The Syrian problem had been a wake-up call for the United Nations with regard to the Council. “We must reform it so as to make it a tool, not a hindrance, for progress in situations such as in Syria this year, or — as we saw last year — concerning the Palestinian application,” he said. He opposed violence and terrorism and called for unity in condemning the recent ghastly murder of the United States Ambassador to Libya.

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KAIRAT UMAROV, Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan, ...

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... Kazakhstan also called for the establishment of conditions necessary to settle the Palestinian issue. ...

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MOURAD MEDELCI, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Algeria, ...

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He welcomed Palestine as a new United Nations member, based on 1967 borders. He recognized the legitimate, inalienable rights of the Palestinian people to sovereignty and self-determination. ...

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OLDEMIRO MARQUES BALÓI, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Mozambique, ...

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Turning to the Middle East, he expressed concern at the lack of progress, asserting that the conflicts there challenged, not only the countries involved and the region, but also the international community. Thus, he appealed to all relevant actors to engage in constructive dialogue and reiterated his conviction of the importance of the United Nations’ continuous engagement towards swift resolution. He reaffirmed unequivocal support to the Palestinian cause, as well as to the two-State solution ...

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ANIFAH AMAN, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Malaysia, ...

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... The situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory was also bleak, as, for more than six decades, the people of Palestine saw their lands confiscated to make way for settlements, and they saw displacements and evictions, including of children. Elsewhere, the international community was quick to call for action for those living under oppression, but it was “unashamed in not taking strong and decisive actions for the long-deprived Palestinians”. Surely, the international community, especially the powerful and influential nations, could do more to bring Israel to the negotiating table. With the declaration that emerged from the High-level Meeting on the Rule of Law, it was time for the international community to pressure Israel to fulfil its international obligations.

Why was Palestine punished for wanting to become a rightful member of the United Nations? he wondered. With 132 countries recognizing the State of Palestine, it was clear the issue was tied to another, bigger one, namely the veto power in the Security Council. That was just another of the host of reasons why the United Nations, especially the Security Council, should be reformed. There were so many instances where the Council had failed to take action when action was needed most. “Time and time again, [the Council] has become a victim of its own creation”. Its composition should also reflect current global realities. It was ironic that the very institution formed in 1945 to promote and defend democracy was, itself, undemocratic. Virtually every aspect of reform had been argued, and many proposals had been submitted, yet none had made headway. Indeed, “we are nowhere closer to actual reform than when we first started,” he asserted. He called on States to be “realistic” and find workable solutions to reform.

MURRAY MCCULLY, Minister for Foreign Affairs of New Zealand, ...

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... Concerning the text on Palestinian status, he said it was a very poor substitute for direct discussions between the Israeli and Palestinian leaders. ...

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MOUSSA FAKI MAHAMAT, Minister for Foreign Affairs and African Integration of Chad, said the world was in an unprecedented period of tension, perhaps the most serious since the cold war. From Afghanistan to Mali, from Libya to Syria, from the Palestinian crisis to Sudan and South Sudan, the current crises had considerable religious and cultural undertones that were difficult to address. ...

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HAMADY OULD HAMADY, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Mauritania, ...

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Turning to the Arab-Israeli situation, he said it posed grave threats to international peace and security. He invited the international community to approve the Palestinian request for enhanced status at the United Nations. “This is the only way to end the suffering of the people,” he said. He also condemned Israel’s embargo on the Gaza Strip, the crimes perpetrated by the Israeli war machine and the destruction of Palestinian infrastructure. Promoting the culture of peace and the values of tolerance among peoples and civilizations was the right way to safeguard peace and security in the world, he said, adding that Mauritania rejected any form of terrorism or extremism. The noble ideals that had guided the United Nations since inception would only be respected if the world’s peoples could benefit from the potential of development while respecting the values of freedom and equity, he said.

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For information media • not an official record



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