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The meeting was called to order at 9.05 a.m.
The President : I now give the floor to His Excellency the Honourable Jakaya Kikwete, Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the United Republic of Tanzania.
Mr. Kikwete (United Republic of Tanzania):
It is regrettable that the situation in the Middle East remains volatile and explosive. It is our hope that the peace negotiations between Palestine and Israel will be revived through a resolute commitment by all parties. The United Nations has a major role in ensuring that the peace process gets back on track. The commitment made by President Bush on the creation of the state of Palestine on the basis of Security Council resolutions is very reassuring. We hope this will be followed through and that the United States Government will once again assume its leadership role.
The President: I call on the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Guinea, Her Excellency Ms. Mahawa Bangoura Camara.
Ms. Camara (Guinea) ( spoke in French):
Peace and security continue to be threatened in many parts of the world. In the Middle East, intolerance and intransigence have led to a dangerous escalation of violence, which, if not controlled in time, could cause the whole region to go up in flames. The Republic of Guinea would like to appeal to all the parties to exercise greater restraint so as to facilitate a resumption of the peace process. My country supports the full application of the recommendations of the Mitchell commission and the implementation of effective follow-up mechanisms. Dispatching international observers could contribute to ending the violence and returning peace to all the peoples there. However, the indifference of the international community and its failure to take action could, in the long term, prove to be prejudicial to security in the Middle East.
My delegation condemns all acts of violence, which can lead only to a worsening of the situation. In the light of the serious events that have taken place in recent months, the international community must do all that it can to lead all parties to accept a ceasefire and to resume the peace process. Arms must give way to dialogue, which should lead to a just, equitable and lasting peace. The legitimate rights of the Palestinian people should be respected. Likewise, the existence and security of Israel must be guaranteed.
The President : I call on Shaikh Mohammed Bin Mubarak Al-Khalifa, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Bahrain.
Shaikh Al-Khalifa (Bahrain) (spoke in Arabic):
Since the current Israeli Government came to power, the Middle East has experienced serious developments that have brought back conditions of hostility and confrontation such as engulfed the region prior to the beginning of the Madrid peace process in 1991. This has come about through Israel’s aggression against the Palestinian people and its oppression, economic isolation and blockades of all the territory under Palestinian authority.
The peace process based on Security Council resolutions, in particular resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973), and on the Madrid terms of reference — specifically the principle of land for peace — is at an impasse. The explosive situation in the Palestinian Authority’s territories, with all its inherent risks, including the threat to security and stability in the Middle East and to the interests of the Authority and other States, requires the international community, and primarily the sponsors of the peace process, to shoulder their responsibilities to put the peace process back on track so that its objectives may be achieved.
This can be done only through the full implementation of Security Council resolutions calling for a complete withdrawal from the Arab territories occupied by Israel in the Syrian Golan Heights up to the boundaries of 4 June 1967 and from the remaining occupied territories of the Republic of Lebanon, and through full recognition of the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people, including its rights of return and to the establishment of its own independent State with Jerusalem as its capital. In this regard, we welcome the statement made by President Bush of the United States of America on the right of the Palestinian people — supported by the European Union, the permanent members of the Security Council and the international community — to establish a Palestinian State.
The President : I now give the floor to Her Excellency Ms. Anna Lindh, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Sweden.
Ms. Lindh (Sweden):
We need to join forces for peace in the Middle East. Our aim must be two States, Israel and Palestine, with secure and recognized borders. The basis is international law and the Security Council resolutions. The situation has deteriorated in the past year, despite strong efforts by the United Nations, the United States, the European Union, Russia and others. A further escalation must be avoided. Israel must withdraw from the occupied territories, cease the settlements policy and put an end to the extrajudicial executions. The Palestinians must do everything in their power to stop the attacks against innocent civilians. Sweden strongly supports the recommendations of the Mitchell report, including a monitoring mechanism, for an end to violence and a revival of the peace process.
The meeting rose at 1.15 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 C-178. Corrections will be issued after the end of the session in a consolidated corrigendum.