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The meeting was called to order at 3.05 p.m.
Address by Mrs. Vaira Vike-Freiberga, President of the Republic of Latvia
The Acting President (spoke in French): The Assembly will first hear an address by the President of the Republic of Latvia.
Mrs. Vaira Vike-Freiberga, President of the Republic of Latvia, was escorted into the General Assembly Hall.
The Acting President (spoke in French): On behalf of the General Assembly, I have the honour to welcome to the United Nations Her Excellency Mrs. Vaira Vike-Freiberga, President of the Republic of Latvia. I invite her to address the Assembly.
President Vike-Freiberga: ...
The unrest and turmoil in the Middle East, which has lasted for well over five decades, shows no sign of abating and can only come to an end once violence is firmly forsaken as a means for obtaining political ends. Latvia views the road map for peace, which foresees a free and secure State of Israel living in peace alongside an independent Palestinian State as the only feasible means for ending the dangerous impasse that both sides have now reached. The alternative is a continuing escalation of bloodshed, a never-ending cycle of killing and mounting mutual hostility.
Latvia is ready to promote the establishment of a lasting peace in the region, under the auspices of both the United Nations and the European Union. We encourage the interested parties to do everything within their means to de-escalate tensions and put the peace process back on track.
The establishment of a genuine and lasting peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians would also have an additional benefit. It would remove the Palestinian cause as an excuse for terrorists to justify their actions of murder and destruction. As the events of the last few years so poignantly reveal, terrorism and arms proliferation have become two of the largest threats to world security today.
Address by Mr. Hâmid Karzai, President of Afghanistan
The Acting President (spoke in French): The Assembly will hear an address by the President of Afghanistan.
Mr. Hâmid Karzai, President of Afghanistan, was escorted into the General Assembly Hall.
The Acting President ( spoke in French): On behalf of the General Assembly, I have the honour to welcome to the United Nations His Excellency Mr. Hâmid Karzai, President of Afghanistan, and to invite him to address the Assembly.
President Karzai: ...
We are deeply concerned about the loss of innocent lives in Palestine and Israel. We support the realization of the right to self-determination for our Palestinian brothers and sisters.
Address by Mr. Alfonso Portillo Cabrera, President of the Republic of Guatemala
The President: The Assembly will now hear an address by the President of the Republic of Guatemala.
Mr. Alfonso Portillo Cabrera, President of the Republic of Guatemala, was escorted into the General Assembly Hall.
The President: On behalf of the General Assembly, I have the honour to welcome to the United Nations His Excellency Mr. Alfonso Portillo Cabrera, President of the Republic of Guatemala, and to invite him to address the Assembly.
President Portillo Cabrera (spoke in Spanish): ...
We support all efforts to put an end to the tragic spiral of violence afflicting the Middle East and to achieve a just and lasting peace in that long-suffering region.
Address by Ms. Megawati Soekarnoputri, President of the Republic of Indonesia
The President : The Assembly will now hear an address by the President of the Republic of Indonesia.
Ms. Megawati Soekarnoputri, President of the Republic of Indonesia, was escorted into the General Assembly Hall.
The President: On behalf of the General Assembly, I have the honour to welcome to the United Nations Her Excellency Ms. Megawati Soekarnoputri, President of the Republic of Indonesia, and to invite her to address the Assembly.
President Soekarnoputri: ...
We should truly be prudent and sensible in the face of such a long-outstanding issue. It is difficult to refute the impression that the policy on conflict resolution in the Middle East is not only unjust but also one-sided. Clearly, the Middle East problem is not a conflict of religions or of religious adherents, although some religious nuances may be part of the issue.
Address by Mr. Olusegun Obasanjo, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria
The President: The Assembly will now hear an address by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Mr. Olusegun Obasanjo, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, was escorted into the General Assembly Hall.
The President: On behalf of the General Assembly, I have the honour to welcome to the United Nations His Excellency Mr. Olusegun Obasanjo, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and to invite him to address the Assembly.
President Obasanjo: ...
The situation in the Middle East, which we had hoped would improve with the adoption of the road map for a peaceful settlement of the conflict, has again deteriorated. We call on the parties to halt the new cycle of violence — a cycle from which neither side stands to gain. We believe that any violation of the terms of the peace plan by either side does a great disservice to the Palestinians, as well as to the Israelis. We therefore appeal to both sides to demonstrate their full commitment to the implementation of the plan so as to create conditions for the peaceful coexistence of a Palestinian State, side by side with the State of Israel.
Agenda item 9 (continued)
Address by The Right Honourable Jean Chrétien, Prime Minister of Canada
The President : The Assembly will now hear an address by the Prime Minister of Canada.
Mr. Jean Chrétien, Prime Minister of Canada, was escorted to the rostrum.
The President: I have great pleasure in welcoming His Excellency The Right Honourable Jean Chrétien, Prime Minister of Canada, and inviting him to address the General Assembly.
Mr. Chrétien (Canada) (spoke in French): ...
The situation in the Middle East preoccupies us, as it does the entire international community. Innocent lives on both sides are being lost. Israeli families and Palestinian families fear for their children and for their future. Terrorism and violence — in whatever form, to advance whatever cause — simply creates more violence and takes even more innocent life.
For the international community, as for Israelis and Palestinians, despair is not an option. Our goal must remain a political solution based on two viable States, Israel and Palestine, within secure and recognized borders. We need to support Palestinian efforts to develop modern, transparent and responsible government. We need also to support those seeking to promote dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians in the search for practical solutions to the core issues. It is our responsibility to help those who are preparing for peace, which must one day come.
When the time is right, the international community must be able to offer a robust international presence that will guarantee the safety and security of Israel and of a Palestinian State, and we should be getting ready to do so now. ...
Address by His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, Prime Minister of Kuwait
The Acting President: The Assembly will now hear an address by the Prime Minister of Kuwait.
Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, Prime Minister of Kuwait, was escorted to the rostrum.
The Acting President : I have great pleasure in welcoming Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, Prime Minister of the State of Kuwait, and inviting him to address the General Assembly.
Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah (Kuwait) (spoke in Arabic): ...
Thirty-six years have passed since the oppressive Israeli occupation of the land of the Palestinian people, who continue to suffer an ongoing decline in their economic and social living conditions as a result of Israel’s policies and practices, which contravene international and humanitarian laws and norms. Kuwait is following with grave concern the recent escalation in the occupied Palestinian territories. Despite the intense international efforts led by the Quartet, which yielded the road map for the settlement of the conflict within a specific time frame with a view to the attainment by the Palestinian people of their legitimate political rights, Israel persists in its policy of backtracking on its commitments. In fact, it deliberately undermines every promising initiative while paying no heed to the potential consequences of the perpetuation of the cycle of violence, rising tension and instability throughout the region. Against this backdrop, the question of deploying an international monitoring force to ensure scrupulous compliance with ceasefire arrangements is more pressing than ever.
While Kuwait renews its commitment to fully supporting the struggle of the Palestinian people to attain all their full legitimate political rights, including the establishment of their independent State on their national territory, with Jerusalem as its capital, we demand that the Israeli Government commit itself to implementing the resolution adopted last Friday by the General Assembly at its tenth emergency special session and reverse its decision to remove the President of the Palestinian Authority. In the same context, we demand that the Israeli Government fulfil its obligations and pledges set out in relevant United Nations resolutions, primarily Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973); the land for peace formula; the bilateral accords signed with the Palestinian Authority in the context of the peace process; and the road map in all its provisions and requirements.
In addition, Israel must abandon forthwith its policies of isolating local communities and denying them food supplies, incursions, destruction of physical infrastructures, demolition of homes and arbitrary round-ups and arrests. Israel must also stop its construction of the separation wall and of settlements. It should also release all Palestinian detainees. Recent developments on the ground prove that these policies and practices will not fulfil Israel’s goals. Rather, they will fuel the sentiments of hostility towards Israel. They will also reinforce the sense of despair and undermine the Palestinians’ prospects for living in freedom and dignity, thus forcing them to pursue the course of national struggle and resistance of occupation. Furthermore, Israel must ultimately withdraw from all the Arab territories it occupied in 1967 as a prerequisite for building the just, permanent and comprehensive peace for which we all yearn.
The Acting President : I now give the floor to His Excellency, Mr. Louis Michel, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Belgium.
Mr. Michel (Belgium) (spoke in French): ...
Belgium will continue to participate in a determined and proactive way in the international efforts that were initiated two years ago to track down terrorism. In Belgium, there is no sanctuary for terrorism, nor will there ever be. Nevertheless, the fight against terrorism should not be used as an abusive justification for actions that would undermine the democratic quality and the sacred principles of the rule of law.
Furthermore, I am not one of those who believe that the military option is the exclusive answer, although obviously it should not be excluded. Much more fundamentally, we need to systematically attack the root causes of a phenomenon that is often rooted in the feeling of powerlessness or in feelings of real or perceived injustice.
For this reason, Belgium will also continue to support, together with its European partners, the action of the Quartet for the re-establishment of peace between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. To achieve that goal, it is necessary that Palestinians decide unambiguously to renounce the toleration of blind violence and that Israel, in the same spirit, stop favouring the use of force.
One has the impression that, as difficulties pile up, we have fallen back into the traps of Oslo: a gradualism of small steps and a too-pronounced reliance on sequencing. The road map prescribes parallel advances on the security, political and economic paths. From each side, we need to obtain bolder measures and the acceptance of the risks these imply. There is no alternative to the road map. It has not yet been implemented seriously. We believe it is particularly urgent to create a credible, on-site verification mechanism.
The Acting President: I now call on Her Excellency Mrs. Yoriko Kawaguchi, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan.
Ms. Kawaguchi (Japan): I ...
With respect to peace in the Middle East, I am deeply concerned that the road map has reached a critical stage. I call upon both sides to exercise the utmost restraint in order to restore calm on the ground. The Palestinian Authority must resolutely disavow the use of terror, work expeditiously to establish a new cabinet and take action to control the extremist factions. Israel, in turn, must act with prudence and caution, mindful of the consequences of its own actions. In particular, the expulsion of Chairman Yasser Arafat can only result in a deterioration of the situation. Japan once again urges Israel not to proceed with the implementation of measures which would result in Chairman Arafat’s removal.
The meeting rose at 7.25 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-154A. Corrections will be issued after the end of the session in a consolidated corrigendum.