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

Fifty-sixth General Assembly
46th Meeting (AM)
11 November 2001



Global Community Said to Be Unified after 11 September, Efforts
Against Roots of Discontent also Urged; Yasser Arafat Seeks International Monitors


Yasser Arafat, Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Palestinian Liberation Organization and President of the Palestinian Authority, said his people had expressed their readiness to confront all forms of international terrorism. He called upon the international community to exert every possible effort to stop the “war of aggression” by Israel and to send international observers to protect Palestinians. He said increased settlement activity by Israel reflected Israel’s lack of commitment to agreements signed.


The President of Uganda, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, said he supported the actions of the United States against terrorism. He stressed, however, that the just cause of the Palestinian, southern Sudanese and other oppressed peoples must also be supported. Economically, he said, aid was meaningless without market access. Out of the $1.2 trillion global trade in agricultural products, Africa's share was only about $20 billion -- about 2 per cent of the total.

Joseph Kabila, President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, who joined in condemning the terrorist acts in the United States, called on the United Nations to institute exemplary sanctions against all States pillaging the wealth of his country: the support of the international community was essential if the nation was to be reconstructed.

President Glafcos Clerides of Cyprus and President Luis Ángel González Macchi of Paraguay also spoke this morning, as did Prime Minister Anerood Jugnauth of Mauritius, and President Zlatko Lagumdzija of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Foreign Ministers of China, Finland, Italy, Djibouti, and Gabon also made statements.

The Assembly will meet again at 3 p.m. today to continue its general debate.


The General Assembly met this morning to continue its general debate. (For more background information, see Press Release GA/9957 of 10 November.)

Among others, the Assembly was expected to hear from the Presidents of Cyprus, Croatia, Paraguay, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the Prime Ministers of Mauritius and Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as from the President of the Palestinian Authority.


GLAFCOS CLERIDES, President of Cyprus:


The tragic events of 11 September have highlighted the need to continue and accelerate the efforts to prevent and solve regional conflicts. The inability of the international community to put an end to the unacceptable situation in the Middle East undermines the credibility of the system of collective security. We look forward to a region living in peace, stability and security for all States, including Israel. We reiterate our support for the fulfilment of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, including the creation of their own state.


YOWERI KAGUTA MUSEVENI, President of Uganda:


Elements claiming to act in the name of Islam have been taking a wrong position by seeking hegemonism among the people of God. We support the position of the United States as we did in the Gulf War, in fighting and defeating these reactionaries who are profaning the name of freedom fighters. The coalition against terrorism should be regarded in the same way as the coalition against fascism in the 1930s and 1940s. Nevertheless, the just cause of the Palestinian people and of other oppressed peoples, like those of southern Sudan, must be supported.

TANG JIAXUAN, Foreign Minister of China:


We are following with deep concern current developments in the Middle East. China supports the relevant United Nations resolutions and the principle of land for peace. It also supports the Palestinian people in their just cause to regain legitimate rights and interests.


JACK STRAW, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs of the United Kingdom:


We must take not only military but also diplomatic action to reduce those tensions which terrorists exploit. Nowhere are those greater than in the Middle East. The path to settlement has to be based on a political process, which implements United Nations resolutions. It must deliver security for Israel within recognized borders, while at the same time creating a viable Palestinian State. Efforts, however, will be wasted unless the parties themselves show the political will to halt violence and the political courage to make a deal.

ERKKI TUOMIOJA, Foreign Minister of Finland: The aftermath of the events of 11 September have shown that there are more issues that unite us than issues that separate us. They have affected our sense of security both as Member States and as individuals. Our response requires new thinking. The United Nations is the only organization with global competencies in the area of security policies. Ongoing crises are, however, so complex that they require united efforts and combined resources. This is particularly true of the Middle East, where a return to the peace process is an urgent necessity.


RENATO RUGGIERO, Foreign Minister of Italy:


On the crisis in the Middle East, we are working both in a national capacity and within the European Union to create the conditions for an end to the violence and a true return to negotiations for a comprehensive, lasting peace in the region. It should be based for the Palestinians on the establishment of a viable and democratic State and an end to the occupation of their territories, and for the Israelis on the right to live in peace and security within internationally recognized borders.


YASSER ARAFAT, Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization and President of the Palestinian Authority: We meet in the aftermath of the criminal and ugly terrorist acts of 11 September. We strongly condemn this act. The Palestinian people have expressed their readiness to confront all forms and manifestations of international terrorism including State organized terror, in order to build a new world that will guarantee justice, peace, security and freedom to all people, a world based on human rights and international legality.

I express my deepest appreciation for what President George Bush declared in his speech yesterday about the need to achieve a just peace, based on the implementation of Security Council resolutions 242, 338 and 425, and on the basis of a two-State solution -- Israel and Palestine -– and to expeditiously resume the peace process.

The current Israeli Government continues the aggression against the Palestinian people, begun by the previous Government. State terror is being practised, including assassinations of Palestinian political leaders, demolition of homes, uprooting thousands of trees and farms. The Palestinian economy is devastated as a result of all forms of economic, financial, medical and food closures, and a siege imposed on Palestinian cities and refugee camps. We call upon the international community and for every possible effort to stop this “war of aggression” and send international observers to protect our people from occupation, terror and ethnic cleansing and to supervise the implementation and consolidation of the ceasefire declared a number of times by our side, and always violated by the Israeli Government.

After the assassination of my late partner in the peace process, Yitzhak Rabin, Israeli governments took the path of non-compliance, failing to implement their obligations. Settlements and settlers have doubled since the start of the peace process, reflecting Israel’s lack of commitment to agreements signed. It is essential for the international community and the influential great powers to be actively involved in saving the peace process and putting it back on the right track. We have fully cooperated with all international efforts and initiatives. We call upon the United States, the United Kingdom, the Russian Federation, France, China, Japan, the members of the European Union and the non-aligned countries to exert every possible effort to transfer the vision of a Palestinian State with holy Jerusalem as its capital into reality, in order to enable the Palestinian people to live in peace, dignity, freedom, independence and sovereignty.

Those countries, as well as Arab and Muslim countries and other friendly nations, should introduce immediately a comprehensive framework for a permanent solution, based on international legality and signed agreements, so that both parties can negotiate expeditiously on the details of the permanent solution. The Israeli Government and people should respond positively to this approach, so that together we can build peace.

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