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The meeting was called to order at 3.05 p.m.
Agenda item 9 ( continued)
The President : I give the floor to Her Excellency Mrs. Lydie Polfer, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs and External Trade of Luxembourg.
Mrs. Polfer (Luxembourg) (spoke in French ): ...
One year ago, the international community was deeply shaken by the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001 against the civilian populations of New York, Washington and Pennsylvania. A few days ago we visited Ground Zero as a sign of our grief and to reaffirm our determination to act against barbarity. While we can indeed note that the efforts made since that tragic day to combat international terrorism have achieved some specific results, this should not, however, prompt us to let down our guard. Other tragedies are still open wounds, such as the particularly obvious case of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The Middle East, since Oslo, has seen extraordinary efforts at mediation. Faced with violence and hate, non-intervention and keeping one’s distance are not real options. Efforts are continuing, aimed at creating conditions for new negotiations that might make it possible to conclude the work that has been languishing since Taba. The European Union is actively participating in this process and is making efforts, through new initiatives of the Danish presidency, to once again put the political context at the heart of our concerns. The tireless efforts of the international community are required to emphasize the need for moderation. Moderates, on whatever side, have no easy task when faced with extremism. But we support them. Peace requires all of us, in fact, to be internally split, as noted by Mr. Shlomo Ben Ami, but, I would add, it will also include reconciliation. And this must be prepared with the new external partner and also with those reluctant domestic forces, which must be reintegrated into the peace process.
The President : I now call on His Excellency the Honourable Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, the Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia.
Mr. Badawi (Malaysia): ...
Malaysia is concerned at the apparent lack of urgency in addressing the underlying factors that lead to cause terrorism. For example, most of the Muslim world believes that one of the key outstanding issues that continue to elicit resentment and fury is the situation in the Palestinian occupied territories. Malaysia believes that, while all acts of violence against innocent civilians — whether inflicted by suicide bombers or by security forces — must be condemned, we must be even-handed in our approach in dealing with the situation in the region. It is important that we understand the root causes of violence there. We must put it in its proper context: the continued occupation of Arab lands by the Israeli occupying forces, in particular the demolition of Palestinian homes, the devastation of their towns and cities, the destruction of their livelihood and institutions and, worst of all, the loss of thousands of civilian lives and the wounding of tens of thousands more over the decades, which can only result in reactions from the Palestinian people. Israel’s oppressive policies and practices have made life for the Palestinians unbearable and have engendered only hatred and resentment against the occupying Power, illegal settlers and those who are perceived to provide support to them. Israel must take advantage of the acceptance of the two-State solution and recognize that political and security issues must be looked at together. It must also acknowledge the need for the establishment of an international protection force to separate the two parties.
The international community, including the United Nations, cannot afford to stand on the sidelines indefinitely. It is time for the Security Council to become more actively involved and intervene directly in the situation, beginning with the dispatch of a United Nations or other international peacekeeping force to the occupied territories. Failure to act will only perpetuate the violence and exacerbate the resentment felt by the Palestinians — and by the Muslim world in general — towards those who are perceived to be responsible for refusing to address this issue in a fair and just manner.
The President : I give the floor to His Excellency Mr. Mohamed Benaissa, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Morocco.
Mr. Benaissa (Morocco) ( spoke in Arabic ): ...
In spite of continued appeals made by the international community to bring about peace in the Middle East, the Palestinian people still suffer on a daily basis from the mad violence inflicted on them by the Israeli occupation forces and practices that flout the most elementary principles of international humanitarian law. Notwithstanding successive Security Council resolutions, Israel still persists in its repressive policy, paying no heed to any international covenant and denying the very agreements into which it has entered.
In contrast, leaders of the Arab States have demonstrated a keen sense of responsibility and a continued pledge to embrace peace, culminating at the Arab summit in Beirut in March 2002 with the adoption of the Arab peace initiative presented by His Royal Highness Crown Prince Abdullah ibn Abdul-Aziz of the sister Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. On the other hand, Morocco welcomes the vision advocated by United States President George W. Bush, in which he called for the establishment of a Palestinian State to coexist side by side with Israel, as a lasting and viable solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict, one likely to achieve peace and security for all peoples of the region and to put a definite end to violence and instability. However, recent events and developments in the region do not, unfortunately, give substance to this vision. The spiral of violence has instead witnessed an unprecedented escalation.
For decades, the Kingdom of Morocco has been endeavouring to act as a bridge between the peoples of the region, with a view to achieving a climate of peace and security and contributing to the revitalization of the peace process, the creation of an independent Palestinian State with Al-Quds al-Sharif as its capital and the recovery by Syria and Lebanon of their territories occupied since 1967.
In view of the importance of Al-Quds al-Sharif as a key point in the peace process, and seeking to preserve the national and religious identity of this Holy City in accordance with the relevant Security Council resolutions, His Majesty King Mohammed VI, Chairman of the Al-Quds Committee, is continuing his efforts, along with brother Kings, Emirs and Presidents of the Muslim member States of the Committee, with the United States of America and the Russian Federation in their capacity as peace patrons, and with the presidency of the European Union, with His Holiness the Pope and with the United Nations Secretary-General, in order to safeguard the Islamic Arab character of Al-Quds al-Sharif and to preserve it as a place of coexistence and tolerance among the three revealed religions.
The President : I call on His Excellency The Honourable Phil Goff, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade of New Zealand.
Mr. Goff (New Zealand): ...
The failure to resolve differences between Israeli and Palestinian people in the Middle East continues to be a catalyst for recruitment into terrorism. The Secretary-General, in opening this session, spelled out the basis for resolving the dispute. He referred to land for peace, an end to terror and to occupation, and to two States, Israel and Palestine, with secure and recognized borders. Both peoples are destined to live side by side. Both will benefit from an end to violence and a negotiated settlement. But agreement requires good faith from each side and a determined effort by the international community. We fully endorse the Secretary-General’s renewed call for an international peace conference. Progress on this issue is now more vital than ever.
The Acting President : ...
I now give the floor to Mrs. Benita Ferrero-Waldner, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Austria.
Mrs. Ferrero-Waldner (Austria): ...
When it comes to dangers for world security, we also have to focus on unresolved and perilous regional conflicts, such as in the Middle East. What is needed is an effort to speedily arrive at a political solution providing for two States, Israel and Palestine, within secure and recognized borders. Austria seconds the idea of an early international conference with the support of the Quartet and interested countries of the region aimed at finding solutions to the political issues such as the final borders of the two States, the final status of Jerusalem and the question of refugees. Austria considers the newly designed road map of the European Union towards the establishment of an independent and sovereign Palestinian State in the next three years to be a good basis for achieving a final and comprehensive settlement of the conflict in accordance with Security Council resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973) and 1397 (2002), taking into consideration the Arab peace plan adopted in Beirut as well.
While continuing to respect the elected leadership of the Palestinian people the European Union has expressed its readiness to give all necessary and possible support to the reform process of the Palestinian Authority. Austria participates actively in those efforts. Austria is also deeply concerned that human suffering in the conflict has attained unacceptable levels, be it as a result of terror or of countermeasures.
The Acting President : I now give the floor to the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, His Excellency Mr. Anatoliy Zlenko.
Mr. Zlenko (Ukraine): ...
The situation in the Middle East also remains a source of deep concern for Ukraine. It is quite obvious today that the parties have become trapped in a cycle of violence, which contradicts the true aspirations of both peoples and breeds yet more hatred and desperation. We fully support the efforts of the international community, in particular the Quartet and the countries of the region, aimed at assisting the parties in finding peaceful ways to settle the conflict. Ukraine, for its part, strives to contribute in every possible way to a peaceful settlement. In April this year, during his visit to the region, President Leonid Kuchma presented Ukrainian proposals in the framework of international diplomatic efforts aimed at a peaceful settlement of the Middle East conflict; these envisage a range of parallel steps in the security, economic and political spheres. I should like to take this opportunity to confirm Ukraine’s readiness to offer a venue on its territory and to provide all appropriate conditions for the conduct of talks on this issue. The achievement of a final, just and durable peace in the Middle East is not possible without the resumption of peace negotiations on the Israeli-Syrian and Israeli-Lebanese tracks.
The Acting President : I now give the floor to His Excellency The Honourable Samuel Rudolph Insanally, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Guyana and former President of the General Assembly.
Mr. Insanally (Guyana): ...
Old conflicts persist, denying entire populations the opportunity to live in peace and security. The situation in the Middle East must be of special concern to us all, since it threatens to become a wider conflict. The right of the Palestinian people to national self-determination — a right guaranteed by international law — must be upheld if there is to be a just and lasting solution to the region’s problems.
The Acting President ( spoke in French ): I now call on Her Excellency The Honourable Lilian Patel, Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Republic of Malawi.
Ms. Patel (Malawi): ...
My Government is concerned at the unrelenting bloodletting in the Middle East, particularly the senseless carnage among innocent civilians. We encourage both the Israeli Government and the Palestinian Authority to give peace a chance through dialogue. We call, in particular, for the cessation of hostilities, provocation and incitement, which only serve to inflame the delicate conflict situation.
The meeting rose at 6.35 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.