See also: UN DPI Multimedia
Press Release
Department of Public Information · News Coverage Service · New York

General Assembly Plenary
Tenth Emergency Special Session
14th Meeting (PM)
20 October 2000

Secretary-General Reports on Summit Understandings,
Notes Proposal for Fact-Finding Committee on Recent Events

As it continued its resumed tenth emergency special session on illegal Israeli actions in occupied East Jerusalem and the rest of the occupied Palestinian territory, the General Assembly tonight condemned the violence that had taken place since 28 September at Al-Haram Al-Sharif and other holy places in Jerusalem, as well as in other areas of the occupied Palestinian territory.

It took that action as it adopted a related resolution introduced by the representative of Egypt by a vote of 92 in favour, to 6 against (Federated States of Micronesia, Israel, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Tuvalu, United States), with 46 abstentions.

By that text, the Assembly, noting that the violence had resulted in more than 100 deaths -- the vast majority Palestinian civilians -- and many other casualties, also condemned acts of violence, especially the excessive use of force by Israeli forces against Palestinian citizens.

Also by the text, the Assembly demanded the immediate cessation of violence and the use of force. It called upon the parties to act immediately to reverse all measures taken in that regard since 28 September and acknowledged that necessary steps had been taken by the parties in that direction since the Sharm el-Sheikh Summit in Egypt. The Assembly also expressed support for the understandings reached at that Summit and urged all parties concerned to implement them honestly and without delay.

By other terms of the draft, the Assembly demanded that Israel, the occupying Power, abide scrupulously by its legal obligations and its responsibilities under the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 on the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War. That Convention was applicable to all territories occupied by Israel since 1967.

Further, the Assembly reiterated that Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem, were illegal and an obstacle to peace. It also called for the prevention of illegal acts of violence by Israeli settlers.

By other terms, the Assembly strongly supported the establishment of a mechanism of inquiry into the recent tragic events, with the aim of establishing all the precise facts and preventing a repetition. It called for the establishment of that mechanism without delay.

In a briefing at the start of the session, the Secretary-General stressed that both parties needed to demonstrate good faith – above all, by their actions. There could be no lasting security without lasting peace. He called on the Assembly to remember that “words can inflame or soothe”, stating that “everyone needs a restoration of calm and quiet so as to create the best possible atmosphere for a resumption of peace talks”.

The Secretary-General said it had been agreed that the United States would develop with both parties a fact-finding committee on the recent events and how to prevent their recurrence. A final report would be submitted under the auspices of United States President William J. Clinton for publication. The two parties further agreed that if the underlying roots of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict were to be addressed, there must be a pathway back to negotiations and a resumption of efforts to reach a permanent status agreement, based on Security Council resolutions 242 and 338 and subsequent understandings.

Addressing the Assembly, the representative of Egypt wondered what the reactions of the international community and the United Nations would have been if the current events in the Middle East had taken place between two other neighbouring Member States, and what the Security Council would have done in such a case of blatant aggression by one State against another.

He said the international community must tell Israel that procrastination was unacceptable, and a just peace required that Israel proceed to the crux of the matter -- evacuating the occupied territory, including East Jerusalem; either accepting the return of Palestinian refugees or compensating those who chose not to return; and abandoning its aggressive behaviour, which depended solely on military power.

Israel’s representative, exercising his right of reply, rejected the resolution categorically. He said it failed to mention the savage mutilation of soldiers in Ramallah, and was silent on the profanation of the Jewish holy places. It was a negative message, he said, and sowed major doubt as to the capacities of the Palestinians to be partners in peace and reconciliation. He thanked the peace-loving Members who had made a courageous choice to object to the resolution.

Also in right of reply, the Permanent Observer of Palestine said his people would remember the principled position taken by those who had voted in favour of the resolution, yet in the same vein, his people would watch with great concern the position adopted by some. He strongly believed that this resolution would have an important influence, especially if Israel listened to the clear position taken by the international community.

Statements were also made in debate by the representatives of Cuba, Russian Federation, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Algeria, United Arab Emirates, Tunisia, Belarus, Indonesia, Argentina, Yemen, China, Australia, Iran, Pakistan, Botswana, Brunei Darussalam, Qatar, New Zealand, Kuwait, Maldives, Oman, Viet Nam, Libya, Guyana, Colombia, Ecuador, Singapore, Canada, Peru, Saudi Arabia, Namibia, Japan, Iraq, Chile, Brazil, Jordan, Bahrain, Sri Lanka, India, Jamaica, Cyprus, Syria, Morocco, Sudan, Norway, Federated States of Micronesia, Comoros, and Mauritius.

The Permanent Observers of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and of Switzerland also spoke.

Speaking in explanation of vote were the representatives of Turkey, Iran, France, Syria, Brazil and Norway.

Assembly Work Programme

The tenth emergency special session of the General Assembly convened this afternoon for its second meeting to discuss “Illegal Israeli actions in occupied East Jerusalem and the rest of the occupied Palestinian territory”. It was expected to hear from the Secretary-General on this subject.

(For more background information, see Press Release GA/9790 of 18 October.)

Secretary-General’s Address

KOFI ANNAN, Secretary-General of the United Nations, said the main purpose of his recent mission to the Middle East had been to help the Israelis and Palestinians to resolve the current crisis with an agreement on the following: disengagement, an end to the violence and a return to normalcy; a resumption of the peace process; and the establishment of a mechanism to inquire into recent tragic events and ways of avoiding a recurrence.

He said that, over a period of 10 days, he had met with Prime Minister Barak and Chairman Arafat, attended the Sharm el-Sheikh Summit, and conferred with international leaders. Throughout the visit, the situation on the ground in Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza was extremely tense. Both the Palestinians and the Israelis were talking the language of war. The situation had reached the “brink of the abyss”. The deteriorating situation and the hardening of public opinion had made it impossible for the two leaders to make statements that could be interpreted as conciliatory. Following their initial reluctance, they agreed to attend the Sharm el-Sheik Summit which “was in keeping with the atmosphere and events leading up to it”. There was a lack of confidence between the two sides, and, at times, the proceedings became turbulent. The gap between the sides seemed unbridgeable, but in the end peace remained the only strategic option. The difficult question was: how long would the journey take and how hard would be the road to peace?

Continuing, the Secretary-General said that, largely due to the personal efforts of President Clinton, Prime Minister Barak and Chairman Arafat agreed to issue public statements unequivocally calling for an end of the violence. They agreed to take immediate, concrete measures to end the current confrontation, eliminate points of friction, ensure an end to violence and incitement, maintain calm, and prevent recurrence of recent events. To accomplish that, both sides would act immediately to return to the situation that existed prior to the current crisis. The United States undertook to facilitate security cooperation between the parties.

It was also agreed, the Secretary-General said, that the United States would develop with the Israelis and the Palestinians, as well as in consultation with the Secretary-General, a committee of fact-finding on the events of the past several weeks and how to prevent their recurrence. A final report would be submitted under the auspices of President Clinton for publication. The two parties further agreed that if the underlying roots of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict were to be addressed, there must be a pathway back to negotiations and a resumption of efforts to reach a permanent status agreement, based on Security Council resolutions 242 and 338 and subsequent understandings. The leaders agreed that the United States would consult with the parties within the next two weeks about how to move forward.

The Secretary-General stressed that both parties needed to demonstrate good faith –- above all, by their actions. There could be no lasting security without lasting peace. He called on the General Assembly to remember that “words can inflame or soothe, and everyone needs a restoration of calm and quiet so as to create the best possible atmosphere for a resumption of peace talks”.


AHMED ABOULGHEIT (Egypt) wondered what the reactions of the international community and the United Nations would have been if the current events in the Middle East had taken place between two other neighbouring Member States. What would the Security Council have done in such a case of blatant aggression by one State against another? The answer to the question lay in the Charter, which was clear on that matter. The precedents were also quite clear. The Council would compel the aggressor to retract the actions it had taken -- even if this were done by means of a threat of military force -- and compensate the victim for losses; bring to justice those responsible for the violations and offences that had occurred; and take action that would guarantee the non-recurrence of the aggression.

The current situation was one of shameful aggression by an occupying Power on a defenceless people under its occupation. The international community must tell Israel that: the logic of procrastination in negotiations was unacceptable, and a just peace would not be just until Israel proceeded to the crux of the matter -- which was evacuating the territory it occupied, including East Jerusalem; accepting the return of Palestinian refugees or compensating those who chose not to return; and abandoning its aggressive behaviour which depended solely on the logic of military power. Only then would Israel have the legitimacy it desired, and only then would "our people" know the end of a conflict that had ripped the region apart for the last half-century.

He said the hosting of the Sharm el-Sheikh Summit was but an additional step among a number of intense activities Egypt had undertaken with important and influential partners in the peace process. Those activities aimed to quell the bloodshed and end the suffering of the Palestinian people in an uprising that was sparked by the provocative visit of a leader of an Israeli political party to Al-Haram Al-Sharif. He also cited the excessive use of military force by Israel, a fact which had been confirmed by Security Council resolution 1322. His country hoped that the Sharm el-Sheikh understandings would stand firm against the test of time, even if they did not live up to the expectations of the Palestinians and other Arab peoples. He also hoped that Israel would fully and sincerely implement all of its obligations.

He said what was needed from this emergency special session was the dispatch of a clear message to Israel that genuine security was not provided by sheer military force alone. Egypt would never rest until Palestinian rights were fully restored to the Palestinian people.

BRUNO RODRIGUEZ PARRILLA (Cuba) said that the Palestinian question was the key element to peace and stability in the Middle East. There could be no just and lasting peace until an independent Palestinian State existed, with East Jerusalem as its capital. The road to peace must pass inexorably through the return of all occupied Arab territories, including the Syrian Golan Heights, and the exercise of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people. Until the United Nations assumed the direct and ongoing responsibility that the Charter and the international community assigned to it, there would be no peace. If the Government of Israel did not change its politics of colonial occupation and its flagrant, massive and systematic violation of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people and permitted the extreme right, which opposed the peace process, to impose its interests, neither would there be peace.

He said that, today, it would be difficult to ensure that the peace process survived the present crisis, because of the provocation by the Israeli extreme right on 28 September, followed by its missile attack against Ramallah and Gaza, killing more than 100 Palestinian civilians, among them, 30 children. The Israeli military and security forces had unleashed fierce repression, not seen since the intifada, and in flagrant violation of international human rights and of the Fourth Geneva Convention regarding the protection of civilians during war. Today, the violence continued. Israel must stop the escalation of the conflict and re-establish the peace process. The Government of Cuba supported the peace initiatives of the Secretary-General and was pleased by the valuable report presented to this emergency special session. In addition, it hoped that the Arab summit tomorrow in Cairo would be successful in providing a substantive contribution to the solution of the present conflict.

Historically, dozens of times the General Assembly and the Security Council had discussed the Palestinian question and had adopted numerous resolutions, especially 242 (1967) and 338 (1973) of the Security Council, which charted the road to peace. Nevertheless, they had not been applied. There was paralysis in the Council, due to the United States threat of veto, which created a double standard. The tragic events were the responsibility of the United States, whose conduct was subject to vagaries of electoral politics. Peace would not be possible until resolutions were implemented. The international community could not be silent. The results of the Human Rights Commission special session and its resolution in Geneva on 15 October were correct in judging the violation of the human rights of the Palestinians. In closing, the resumption of the tenth special session is justified. Moreover, it was time for the General Assembly to assume the powers it had, make a clear condemnation, and begin an investigation now to save the peace process.

SERGEY LAVROV (Russian Federation) said the drastic aggravation of Palestinian-Israeli relations once more underscored the necessity of reaching a stable and comprehensive political settlement in the Middle East. Arrangements achieved after the Sharm el-Sheikh Summit inspired hope that it would be possible to stop the bloodshed and stabilize the situation in the Palestinian territories and the region as a whole. The most important task now was to take practical steps directed at the fulfilment of the obligations assumed by the parties and ensure the impartial and objective work of the fact-finding Commission, in order to exclude the possibility of such tragic events in the future.

He said Moscow was firmly counting on the leaders of both sides to manifest political will and do their best to normalize a situation that was still tense and dangerous. Implementation of the agreements concluded in Sharm el-Sheikh would contribute towards clearing the path and resumption of the peace process. Constructive dialogue was the only way to achieve a comprehensive and just settlement in the region on the basis of existing Security Council resolutions. The current crisis had also highlighted the interdependence of different aspects of the Middle East entanglement and the necessity of moving towards a settlement on all negotiation tracks -- Palestinian, Syrian and Lebanese. It was evident that any attempt to break such interdependence would lead only to additional aggravations.

He said that in striving to end the violence and normalize the situation, it was necessary to work out the mechanism for subsequent talks. It was also important to apply joint efforts, so that the enemies of peace had no chance to undermine the peace process.

ABUL HASAN CHOWDHURY, State Minister for Foreign Affairs of Bangladesh, said that the present Government of Bangladesh remained committed to upholding its unflinching support to the Middle East peace process. On 3 October, his country had made a statement in the Security Council expressing deep concern at the escalation of violence in the occupied territories and excessive use of force against Palestinian civilians by Israeli troops. That was most tragic and uncalled for. When the Middle East peace process had reached a crucial stage, an Israeli leader’s calculated provocation had threatened to put the whole process in jeopardy.

His Government extended its heartfelt condolences to the families of all those killed or wounded in the recent violence. It also called for an appropriate inquiry into the events, including the possible violation of the Geneva Convention, to ensure that those responsible were brought to justice. His country urged all parties to act with utmost prudence and restraint, to refrain from acts of provocation and to make all efforts to restore calm.

During the course of the past few weeks, he said, the world had witnessed a series of repressions unleashed by Israeli forces on the unarmed civilians of Palestine, where even minor children could not escape repression. Should not the terror-stricken image of 12-year-old Mohammed Jamal, before he was brutally shot dead, appeal to the conscience of the international community? The cycle of violence in the region could only end through a just and comprehensive peace agreement based on the relevant United Nations resolutions and the various international agreements signed between the parties concerned in the Middle East. In that connection, he emphasized the need for immediate and full implementation of the relevant Security Council resolutions, including 1322, which was most recently adopted. He reiterated his support for the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, including their right to establish an independent State with Jerusalem as its capital, and the right of the Palestinian refugees to return to their ancestral homes to live with dignity and honour. The United Nations had a permanent responsibility with respect to the Palestinian and Arab territories under the occupation of Israel, until a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement was reached.

HASMY AGAM (Malaysia) said the session was timely, indeed, in the light of the situation on the ground. The Secretary-General’s participation in the debate demonstrated his serious concern over the human security situation arising from the conflict, and underlined the continued relevance of the United Nations in the search for a permanent settlement of the conflict. The Organization could not afford to be neutral in the face of the blatant violations of Palestinian rights, which were the latest manifestation of a decades-long policy of harassment and intimidation. Israel could not continue to turn a deaf ear to the denunciations of the international community. For the continued credibility of the Organization, all Member States should be governed by the same rules. He welcomed the understandings of Sharm el-Sheikh, which addressed the issue of the immediate need to de-escalate the violence.

To any objective observer of the recent events, there was no doubt that there had been disproportionate, indeed, excessive use of deadly force against stone-throwing Palestinian civilians. There was not a shred of doubt that the premeditated and provocative visit of Ariel Sharon to the Muslim holy site of Al-Haram Al-Sharif had sparked the violence. It was difficult for the objective observer, much less a Palestinian, to appreciate the appropriateness of Israeli actions to defuse the explosive situation. The immediate establishment of an impartial and objective inquiry into the recent tragic events should be strongly supported, so that all appropriate actions could be taken by the parties concerned to address the highly contentious issue and to prevent the repetition of those incidents.

ABDALLAH BAALI (Algeria) said it was important to consider the serious situation the civilian population of Palestine suffered under, and the relentless attacks by Israeli forces. A few weeks ago, there had already been a meeting in the Security Council where the international community had unanimously spoken out against the use of excessive force and demanded that Israel adhere to the Fourth Geneva Convention. Israel had decided to do what it had done in the past: to ignore the wishes of the international community. Nothing had ended, the repression continued and worsened. Dozens of children, including schoolchildren, had had their chests ripped open by Israeli bullets, and dozens more had fallen on the field of honour.

The occupying authorities had shelled the offices of the Palestinian Authority in all impunity. This was a one-shield war. Could it even be called a war? he asked. On one hand, there were stones, and, on the other, warships, helicopters and sophisticated weaponry. The Secretary-General’s words had showed the immensity of his task. The involvement of the Secretary-General was a return of the United Nations into a process from which it had been unjustifiably and unacceptably excluded. Now it was time to implement the measures agreed by the parties. The Israeli blockade of Palestinian territories had to be lifted. Israel was urged to cooperate in the inquiry, as stressed in Security Council resolution 1322.

The parties must return to a process based on international law and the respect of the principle of land for peace. Furthermore, a just and comprehensive solution presupposed that Israel must respect the territory of Lebanon and that Israel withdraw completely from the Syrian Golan Heights. Algeria hoped for an end to the ongoing crucifixion of the Palestinian people and expressed full support for its Palestinian brothers.

MOHAMMED J. SAMHAN (United Arab Emirates) said the international media had projected images of property destruction by the Israeli war machinery, but had failed to actually show the martyrdom of more than 160 Palestinian fatalities and the wounding of thousands. It was clear that this was, in fact, a state of “undeclared war” aimed at exterminating the Palestinian people and imposing the status quo. Unfortunately, he continued, rather than implement the relevant resolutions of the Security Council, the Israeli Government has continued to escalate violence and the killing of innocents, especially women and children. It had given free reign to extreme right-wing settlers to kill and loot Palestinians.

This violence, he said, was unprecedented in its violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention regarding the protection of civilians in war zones. Israel’s failure to act in accordance with agreements and its lack of cooperation of accepting an international fact-finding mission showed Israel’s responsibility for those deliberate acts. He said he felt they were planned in advance. With the sudden and provocative visit to the mosque by Ariel Sharon, there was no doubt this would add to frustration of the Palestinians.

He said the Government of the United Arab Emirates held the Israeli Government responsible for violating Palestinian rights, and it called on the United Nations to assume its responsibility by putting pressure on Israel to withdraw from Palestinian villages and cities and lifting all constraints imposed on all medical and humanitarian assistance. In addition, Israel must release all prisoners in light of bilateral agreements.

SAID BEN MUSTAPHA (Tunisia) said the Assembly, within the framework of the emergency session, met once more to consider a dangerous and volatile situation. The situation, started by the provocation of the head of the Likud Party, was tense and frustrating, since Israel had declared in Camp David its intention to use its “fait accompli” policy in the occupied territories, including Jerusalem. The territories had gone into a new spiral of violence because Israel had used force against Palestinians, rejecting that fait accompli in a clear violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

There were many testimonies to the Israeli practices, of which that of the rapporteur on Human Rights on his return from the occupied territories was but one. The rapporteur had compared the victims to the victims of the first uprising in 1988. Despite those victims, the Palestinian side had responded to the calls of the international community and had undertaken, although not fully, to try to help stop the violence in the territories.

The Palestinian side had declared its intention to fully uphold what was agreed upon and to stop any form of violence or tension, but the Israeli side had suspended the implementation of the agreement and had continued the siege on the Palestinian territories. Moreover, Israeli settlers, working for the Israeli forces, were committing acts of aggression, he said. The situation was very volatile.

He hoped that the understanding reached at the recent Summit meeting would lead to a quick dismantling of the situation on the ground. That was an urgent request to both parties. The cause for the conflict, however, was an unbalanced political situation requiring a comprehensive political solution. He urged the international community to take up its responsibilities and begin the peace process once again. The true solution of the Palestinian question would guarantee the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, including the right to set up their own country with Jerusalem as capital, and an end to the occupation of the Golan.

SERGEI LING (Belarus) said that he hoped that after a series of failures, the Sharm el-Sheikh meeting had opened a new opportunity for revitalization of the peace process. Of particular significance was the fact that the United Nations Secretary-General could also make an important contribution to the process of settlement. Under the present circumstances, a withdrawal of Israeli forces and the establishment of the joint commission aimed at investigating acts of violence and preventing their repetition should complete the major goal, which was to stop the bloodshed in the Middle East.

He strongly condemned all actions which led to more suffering. It was hoped that the General Assembly would reconfirm the position that a comprehensive, just and long lasting peace could be achieved only with the complete withdrawal of Israel from all Arab and Palestinian land occupied since 1967. The establishment of an independent State of Palestine, with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital, along with the implementation of all international instruments, were the guarantees for lasting peace between Israel and Palestinians. There was no alternative solution from a strategic perspective.

The provisions of Council resolution 1322 (2000) must be implemented immediately, he said. Belarus, together with the rest of the international community, expected that the Security Council would be particularly seized on this matter and take all the necessary steps in order to secure the implementation of its decision.

MAKARIM WIBISONO (Indonesia) said it was unacceptable that any country should reject at will the voice of the international community and, in the face of such condemnation, continue to take illegal measures with impunity. Numerous resolutions adopted by special sessions of the General Assembly reaffirmed the position of Member States on the status of Jerusalem and the illegal Israeli settlements, while reiterating the de jure applicability of the Fourth Geneva Convention and the need for compliance with the relevant Security Council resolutions.

He said it was imperative that the Security Council take prompt and resolute action by not only condemning the excessive use of force against unarmed Palestinian civilians, but also by naming the aggressor and perpetrator of wanton violence. Even when confronted with escalating violence, the Council procrastinated, in stark contrast with its recent swift adoption of a resolution when three humanitarian workers had been killed at Atambua in West Timor, Indonesia.

There could be no justification, he said, for the Council's singling out for immediate action a few situations in the world, while hesitantly adopting a resolution on a situation that was fraught with more dangerous consequences for the region and beyond. The criteria for judging the United Nations, especially the Security Council, could only be its fair and just treatment of all Member States. Military power and industrial affluence must never be used as criteria for resolving national and international conflicts.

ARNOLDO LISTRE (Argentina) said that the fragile balance of the prior peace talks had been destroyed by violence. Argentina had made urgent appeals to both sides to end the use of force, while extending its solidarity to all the victims. He took note of the fact that the Jewish and Arab communities had called a cessation of hostilities and the quick re-establishment of peace in the Middle East. Argentina supported the Sharm el-Sheikh Summit and supported the role played by the Secretary-General, President Clinton of the United States, and President Mubarak of Egypt.

He was aware that many obstacles must be overcome for the peace process to work, and called on Israel and the Palestinians to go back to the negotiating table and not to take unilateral measures. Peace must be achieved, based on resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973) of the Security Council. Argentina also affirmed the need to comply with the Fourth Geneva Convention regarding protection of civilians in times of war. His Government recognized the right of Israel to live in peace. Likewise, it supported the inalienable right to self- determination for the Palestinian people, which needed to be enshrined in a treaty.

The peace process had entered one of its most difficult stages – one which required prudence without emotion or the rhetoric of confrontation. There must be moderation to restore calm and decompress tension. In addition, a return to the negotiating table would continue the parties on the path of law and mutual understanding, he concluded.

ABDALLA SALEH AL-ASHTAL (Yemen) said the special session had resumed its work to consider a situation where a confrontation between both sides reached its climax. More than 100 Palestinians had been martyred, children among them. The Palestinian people had been exposed to all kinds of torture and intimidation by the occupying Power. This occupying Power proved every day that it did not want peace. The peace process was, indeed, at a dead end.

He said the present crisis had erupted because of the “notorious visit” of Ariel Sharon to Al-Sharif. The rash act had found its supporters in the present Government of Ehud Barak. The Security Council had met and had condemned all violent Israeli acts and called for a mission of inquiry. The resolution had reflected the position of the majority of its members and the position of the international community. In Geneva, the Human Rights Commission had also adopted a resolution condemning Israel and calling for an inquiry. Israel had rejected those resolutions.

The Assembly was called upon to adopt a resolution to support the Council resolutions and the actions taken during the summit in Egypt. The resolutions of the Council on the subject asked for the retreat by the occupying Power from all territories occupied since 1967, as well as from the Golan.

WANG YINGFAN (China) said that since September the clashes that had taken place in Jerusalem and the occupied territories had caused great international concern. He expressed his deep concern, and condemned the use of force against Palestinian civilians and any violent acts detrimental to the peace process. He expressed profound sympathy for the families of the victims. The China Red Cross Society was providing assistance to help wounded civilians.

He encouraged the resolution of conflict through dialogue. This was in accord with the fundamental interests of the two sides, but also for peace in the region and the world as a whole. The right of the Palestinian people to establish an independent state must be protected, he said, otherwise there could be no comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East. He expressed appreciation for the efforts made at Sharm el-Sheikh and welcomed the understanding reached at the Summit.

Regrettably, violent clashes were continuing with mounting casualties, and the situation remained very tense, he said. He called on the parties concerned to exercise maximum restraint and adopt a flexible and pragmatic approach to the peace process, on the basis of Security Council resolutions. China continued to support the peace process.

PENNY WENSLEY (Australia) said that she was deeply concerned at the loss of life, injury and the damage to mutual confidence between Israel and the Palestinians that had occurred as a result of the violence in the West Bank, Gaza and Israel in recent weeks. Recent event had cast a shadow of a bleak future over Israelis and Palestinians alike, she said. Australia had consistently questioned whether the emergency special session mechanism could, in any material way, be of assistance to the situation in the occupied territories. The concern was particularly relevant now, when both parties were seeking to implement the Sharm el-Sheikh agreement to stop the deaths and injury. Direct negotiations between the parties themselves provided the best prospect for putting a final end to the cycle of violence.

It was imperative that the commitments made at Sharm el-Sheikh be implemented as soon as possible, she said. The peace process could not be abandoned. There was no real alternative – for either side – to a negotiated settlement based on resolutions 242 and 338, and on the principle of land for peace. Despite the severe blow of recent events, the Sharm el-Sheikh agreement showed the leaderships of both sides remained committed to resolving the dispute. They deserved the support of their people and the international community in their efforts to build a lasting peace.

Australia had, like others, contributed funds for emergency medical assistance to help those in the Palestinian territories affected by the recent violence, she said. She hoped, like others in the international community, that the recent violence would act as a spur to encourage the conclusion of the peace process. Peace and stability could only be ensured through a negotiated settlement between the two parties.

HADI NEJAD HOSSEINIAN (Iran) said, while he welcomed Security Council efforts leading up to the adoption of resolution 1322 (2000), he regretted that the Council had not yet responded to the call for the immediate convening of a new meeting to take action on the continued violence against Palestinian civilians. Iran hoped that the unfolding tragedy in the occupied territories would move those who tried to obstruct the fulfilment of the Council's responsibility with regard to the Palestinian question.

Despite recent efforts to end the violence against Palestinians, Israeli troops had shot dead six more Palestinians, he noted. It was yet to withdraw its heavy weapons or to refrain from using excessive force against unarmed Palestinian civilians. Moreover, the Israeli army continued to restrict the right of Palestinians to worship at Al-Haram Al-Sharif, and continued to isolate Jerusalem from the rest of the occupied territories. That proved the untrustworthy and irresponsible nature of the Israeli regime, which it had demonstrated time and again through violation of many agreements, despite those agreements being clearly in its favour.

He said it was absolutely necessary for the international community, represented by the United Nations, to look into the massacres committed by Israeli forces over the past few weeks, with a view to bringing the perpetrators to justice. Moreover, media reports and official announcements indicated that the severe restrictions on movement of persons and goods in the occupied territories amounted to the imposition of collective punishment on an entire population, severely damaging efforts to provide emergency medical support to more than 3,000 Palestinians injured by Israeli forces.

SHAMSHAD AHMAD (Pakistan) expressed concern that the demands made recently in Security Council resolution 1322 (2000) were not being complied with. It was imperative to end the excessive and disproportionate use of force against the Palestinian people and to ensure Israel's compliance with its legal obligations and responsibilities, as an occupying Power, under the Fourth Geneva Convention of 12 August 1949.

Supporting the call for a mechanism of inquiry into the tragic events, he said Pakistan had steadfastly and unequivocally supported the just struggle for the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, as it supported the struggles of all people suffering under alien occupation or foreign domination. The United Nations must implement Security Council resolutions on people struggling to take back their land and the freedom to choose their destiny.

For the international community, there was no alternative and there could not be any exception, he stressed. There could be no lasting peace in the Middle East without the attainment of the Palestinian people's legitimate rights. Those included the return of all occupied territories to Palestinian Authority control, the establishment of an independent Palestinian State with Jerusalem as its capital, and the exercise of full Palestinian sovereignty over Al-Haram Al-Sharif.

LEGWAILA J. LEGWAILA (Botswana) said he had hoped that after the announcement three days ago in Sharm el-Sheikh, the bloody turmoil that had threatened the progress made in the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians would have come to an end. The aspirations of the Palestinian people to have a homeland of their own had been frustrated for too long. His country supported, and would always support, their right to self-determination in their own country.

The facts of history could, however, not be ignored, he said. The people of Israel had their own tragic experiences to influence their actions and dispositions, as they contemplated making peace with their neighbours. The special session would, therefore, serve a helpful purpose if it encouraged the Israelis and the Palestinians to return to the path of negotiations, to abandon and forswear the destructive logic of confrontation and war, and not to apportion blame against one side.

Each side of the conflict had to grapple with advocates of nihilist solutions to the conflict, he said. Provocations like the continued construction of Israeli settlements in the occupied areas and the insensitivity shown towards sites holy to both Jews and Arabs by both sides were actions that could only be antagonistic to the peace process. Israelis would do well to discontinue the provocative and unhelpful practice of creating facts on the ground.

JOHAN THANI ABDULLAH (Brunei Darussalam) said he was deeply concerned with recent developments in Palestine, particularly in East Jerusalem and Gaza Strip. The situation over the past week had the potential to unravel any progress made and efforts being carried out over the years. The convening of the special session was, therefore, timely and crucial. Israel's policies in the occupied East Jerusalem and the rest of the occupied Palestinian territory was an obstacle to real progress in the peace process.

He said he supported the calls made by Member States that Israel should respect and implement its commitments, pledges and agreements arising from the various peace processes, and to comply with all previous resolutions, including the resolution recently adopted by the Security Council. His country had consistently supported all efforts to find a comprehensive settlement in the Middle East. He commended the efforts of all parties concerned in helping to bring the peace process back on track. Brunei Darussalam reiterated its continued solidarity with the Palestinian people in their struggle for a just and lasting peace and independent state of Palestine.

NASSIR ABDULAZIZ AL-NASSER (Qatar) said the present predicament not only jeopardized security in the Middle East, but might also spill over to other countries. The escalation of events in occupied Palestine had kindled emotions in Arab streets. The people were no longer willing to put up with Israeli procrastination in implementing the obligations of the peace process. There was a serious backlash from people who now doubted the credibility of the international organization to safeguard their historical and natural rights. It was imperative to take effective and rapid steps to guarantee the region’s security and stability. That could be achieved by putting an immediate stop to Israeli military violations, calling on the Israeli Government to comply strictly with all international resolutions and asking them to stop supporting provocative violations of holy places in Palestine.

He said he welcomed any effort made to restore security and stability in the Middle East, but the outcome of the emergency Middle East summit in Sharm el-Sheikh did not meet the aspirations of the Palestinian people. However, if implemented, the agreement could constitute an appropriate basis to resume negotiations and bring back the peace process.

He went on to say that the United Nations Millennium Summit last month had created a positive impression. To maintain that credibility, the Organization’s role should not be to step aside and express abhorrence at the flagrant aggressions. Rather, it needed to take practical steps to secure the rights of the Palestinian people, to provide them with protection and security from the attacks of Israeli occupiers and to protect the holy places in Al-Quds Al-Sharif. He would vote for the draft resolution before the Assembly as it secured the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people. He was confident that the peace-loving Member States would not hesitate to support any measure conducive to peace and stability in the Middle East.

MICHAEL POWLES (New Zealand) conveyed his Government’s deepest sympathies to the bereaved and injured on all sides, and said New Zealand had responded promptly to an appeal by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) for emergency medical supplies. He said his Government strongly supported the role undertaken by the Secretary-General, and welcomed the commitments made by Chairman Arafat and Prime Minister Barak earlier this week at Sharm el-Sheikh. The focus must be on the implementation of those commitments. In that regard, he said New Zealand shared the concern of others about the timing of this emergency session, and the impact and rhetoric it might evoke.

The key steps agreed at Sharm el-Sheikh included a committee of fact-finding on the events of the past several weeks, which would examine ways to prevent their recurrence. No one should seek to prejudge the findings of this committee, he said. But in circumstances in which it appeared neither party was blameless, the international community could not ignore the particular obligations that Israel had as the occupying Power to protect the lives of civilians in the territories it occupied. New Zealand hoped that the committee of fact-finding would be able to carry out its work soon and with due objectivity.

MANSOUR AL-OTAIBI (Kuwait) said Israeli actions were a flagrant violation of all that underlined international law. The bloody events were a result of the provocation of Ariel Sharon. In spite of the intense diplomatic efforts which had been deployed, the situation was out of control. Kuwait hoped that the international community would find a successful conclusion and there would be an immediate stop to Israeli actions. The Security Council had insisted on an end to the use of blind force against defenceless Palestinians, where Israeli soldiers were committing crimes against humanity. Urgent measures should be adopted to bring to an end the illegal actions being committed.

The fact that there was now a committee for fact-finding should give the international community a clearer understanding of the events. What was important was that the international community should prepare for a return to the negotiating table and a process of peace. While Israel continued violating agreements, and venting aggression, stability in this troubled region would continue to be undermined, and the Palestinian people would be forced to devote resources to defence rather than development.

HUSSAIN SHIHAB (Maldives) said that before the current Middle East crisis, hopes were high for a comprehensive and lasting peace until the ill-conceived visit to Al-Haram Al-Sharif by Mr. Sharon. The Maldives had followed the recent developments in the occupied territories with grave concern and anxiety, and was appalled and angered by the inhuman and dastardly acts committed by Israel against the Palestinians.

He said there was justifiable Palestinian fury at the Sharon visit, but it drew a disproportionately violent response from Israel. The Maldives forcefully condemned those violent acts. It called upon the international community to take urgent measures to stop the Israeli violence, ensure swift implementation of agreements reached under the peace process and at the Sharm el-Sheikh Summit, and ensure that an objective international inquiry was conducted.

For a just and lasting peace, Israel, he said, must carry out its commitments and immediately withdraw from all territories, including Jerusalem, that were occupied by force. The Maldives continues to express its solidarity with the Palestinian people and support the Palestinian cause.

FUAD MUBARAK AL-HINAI (Oman) said that the actions by the occupying Israeli authorities against unarmed civilians and Palestinian resistance in the occupied territories were unjustified in any circumstances. They were also guaranteed to mobilize international condemnation of all forms of injustice and violence against the aggrieved Palestinian people, as well as bring a call for Israel to adhere to its obligations in implementing legitimate international resolutions.

It was, he said, astonishing that the Israeli Government blamed the violence on the Palestinian National Authority when everyone knew that the visit of the leader of the Likud Party to Al-Haram Al-Sharif provoked it. Oman was deeply worried by the Israeli escalation of violence and its policy of using military force, killing, wounding and displacing Palestinians whose only demands were for their inalienable rights and the liberation of their territory. Oman called on the international community to urge Israel to immediately adhere to Security Council resolutions and relevant human rights Conventions.

PHAM BINH MINH (Viet Nam) said that the signing of the Sharm el-Sheikh Memorandum in September of last year had ended a prolonged deadlock of the peace process in the Middle East and had reawakened hopes for a final settlement of the Palestine-Israel issue. But just one year later, the international community's earnest hope was being ruined by the outbreak of brutal violence since
28 September, after the provocative visit to Al-Haram Al-Sharif. Tragically, as always, the Palestinians were the severest sufferers of the dangerous situation. He was deeply shocked by the unjustified killings of more than 100 innocent people and the excessive use of force by Israeli troops in Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. He called for an immediate cessation of violence and the excessive use of force against Palestinians and return to the situation that existed prior to its current crisis.

It was incumbent upon Israel, the occupying Power, to abide by its duties and obligations. Viet Nam welcomed the agreement of a ceasefire on 17 October in Sharm el-Sheikh, he continued. The summit constituted the right step in defusing tensions and created the necessary conditions for the resumption of the Middle East peace process. The United Nations played an essential role in the maintenance of peace and security in the region. He welcomed the efforts of the Secretary-General in the quest for peace, and called for the full implementation of the recent Security Council resolution. Failure to implement that resolution would cast doubt on the credibility of the Security Council.

He said Viet Nam strongly supported the Palestinian people's struggle for their inalienable national rights, including the right to self-determination, the right to return home and the right to establish an independent State of Palestine, with Jerusalem as its capital, he said.

ABUZED OMAR DORDA (Libya) said that, historically, Israel was not the name of any land at any time anywhere on earth. Palestine was the name of a land where a Palestinian population lived. Citizenship and nationality were a totally different thing from religion. If you worshipped a certain God, it did not mean that you were from that place. Palestine was for Palestinians, who had lived there for ages, not for those who had migrated deliberately in order to inhabit and depopulate the area from its original people. Then it became a question of occupation. If Jews had suffered, the Palestinians people should not alone pay the price.

He said what was happening now was that the occupying party used its guns to shoot, and then it asked the other party not to respond. The international community must try to find the correct solution before the Arab region exploded. All the cities and Palestinian villages “had become islands within an ocean”. Nobody was against the Jews, but what was not acceptable was the occupiers who came from every corner of the world to occupy Palestine.

SAMUEL R. INSANALLY (Guyana) said statements so far reflected the grave concern that the rapidly deteriorating situation in the Middle East might not only jeopardize the peace process, but also lead to a dangerous escalation of the conflict with unpredictable consequences. His Government had publicly deplored the latest outbreak of fighting and the tragic killings on both sides.

Although distressed by the continuing failure to reach a peaceful and lasting settlement, he was somewhat encouraged by the Secretary-General’s report on his peacekeeping mission to believe that a settlement of the fundamentally important issues was possible. It could only materialize if extremism on both sides was avoided and a genuine effort made to achieve cooperation and compromise through dialogue and negotiation. He believed that Security Council resolution 1322 and other relevant resolutions of the Council and the Assembly, as well as the accords reached between the parties, provided an ample framework for pursuing the search for agreement.

He called on all parties to avoid further confrontation and return to the negotiating table. The occupying power Israel had a special responsibility to observe all international conventions to protect the Palestinian people from harm. He said his Government was prepared to consider any resolution that could enjoy widespread consensus and served to rekindle hopes for agreement between the parties. He appealed to the parties to avoid a war of words, which would further aggravate the situation.

ANDRES FRANCO (Colombia), speaking for the Rio Group of Latin American and Caribbean countries, noted the intensification of violence. He said Colombia firmly rejected the use of force, and supported the initiatives of the Secretary-General, the United States, the Russian Federation, the European Union and the countries of the area.

He hoped the Sharm el-Sheikh Summit understanding might consolidate a clear step towards re-establishing the climate of confidence necessary to restart the peace process. Further, his Government wished that the emergency special session would contribute to overcoming the present situation and reactivating the peace process. Efforts should be directed towards clarifying the facts, assuring the cessation of violence and renewing the negotiations.

MARIO ALEMAN (Ecuador) said that the tragic events that occurred in Gaza stressed the importance of Israel and Palestine redoubling their efforts, so that there was no repetition of the acts of violence. When such negative feelings flourished, the voice of reason was silenced, while the desecration of religious places and inhuman conduct took place. That violence occurred in the context of the continued occupation of the Palestinian territories.

With the adoption of resolution 1332 (2000), the Security Council called on all parties to set aside violent actions, he said. The compromise of the Sharm el-Sheikh Summit had provided a framework for restarting negotiations for the cessation of hostilities. Ecuador rejected the use of force in international relations. While his Government felt that Israel was entitled to live in peace, it also recognized that Palestinians had the right to self-determination. Moreover, he was concerned by the inordinate use of force against civilians, and Ecuador had made a statement to that effect at the Human Rights Commission in Geneva.

Peace would only be achieved with the triumph of reason, he said. Never before had an overall peace agreement been so near. Nothing must stymie or stop that process, and the leaders of Israel and Palestine must put an end to the situation that was undermining peace. Geography set Palestine and Israel together, and they must leave behind the confrontation that darkened their relations. Ecuador supported the Secretary-General, the United States, the Russian Federation, the European Union, Egypt and Jordan in their efforts for peace in the region. He concluded that both peoples must return to the negotiating table, so that a future of harmony could be built for coming generations.

CHRISTINE LEE (Singapore) said the international community’s immediate priority must be to snap the cycle of escalating violence. She hoped the Sharm el-Sheikh meeting would calm troubled waters, but more must be done. Member States could no longer resort to entrenched positions and old ways, but must find the courage and strength to take bold steps forward. Singapore commended the Secretary-General for his bold initiative in personally going to the Middle East.

The international community was shocked by the needless and wanton killing, mostly of Palestinian civilians, she said. Steps should be taken towards establishing a mechanism for a speedy and objective inquiry, as called for by the Security Council and at Sharm el-Sheikh. If such an inquiry was held swiftly, it might help assuage anger over the excessive use of force by Israel and prevent further escalation. All human lives were equally precious. She also looked forward to hearing the outcome of the Palestinian Authority’s investigation into the horrific lynching of two Israeli soldiers in plain sight of Palestinian police.

She said the new highly charged atmosphere in the Middle East made it impossible for the parties to react calmly, but the United Nations must try to remain objective and work relentlessly to find concrete and helpful ways to de-escalate the violence and save precious lives. She called for urgent steps to implement Council resolution 1322 (2000) and the Sharm el-Sheikh agreement, with the international community giving priority to the immediate cessation of violence and use of force. Any resolution should attempt to capture the views of the moderate middle. No country should be denied the right to exist, and that applied equally to the Palestinians and Israel.

PAUL HEINBECKER (Canada) said the situation in the Middle East was undermining the human security of the people there, and of their communities. The international community must not allow respect for international humanitarian and human rights and tolerance between communities to also become casualties.

He called for an immediate cession of violence and a return to the negotiations, saying that Canada would support efforts that contributed to those objectives. He welcomed the commitments made at Sharm el-Sheikh and called on the parties to respect them. The success of those efforts would hinge on the ability of all concerned to put the safety, security and well-being of people first, and, in so doing, help to restore stability and tolerance to that tormented region.

He said that all Member States had a responsibility to help create a climate conducive to the achievement of peace. His Government had doubted that the emergency session would have a beneficial impact on the situation on the ground. “Let us here be part of the solution, not of the problem”, he said.

JORGE LUIS VALDEZ CARRILLO (Peru) said the Sharm el-Sheikh Summit had been a joint effort, in which the Secretary-General had played an important role. He hoped that the agreement reached there would be implemented and truly understood by all parties. The optimism about the peace process of some months ago had been reinforced by the withdrawal of Israel from Lebanon. The tragic events of the last weeks had, therefore, caused great sorrow in Peru. They constituted a threat to the peace process. He believed that that process must be fully supported in the Assembly through a consensual text.

Peru had always been in favour of finding a peaceful road for solution of the conflict, he said. Efforts to reach a peaceful settlement had permitted the shaping of a new regional scenario. Experience taught that there were no excuses for failure to reach peace. The efforts of Oslo and Madrid must continue to be brought forward. Full implementation of all resolutions, in particular Security Council resolutions 242 and 338, constituted the basis for the peace process. He emphasized the need for access to, and respect for, the holy sites. They should not be used for political processes or provocations. Peru had been a victim of violence and knew that it would lead nowhere, he concluded.

FAWZI BIN ABDUL MAJEED SHOBOKSHI (Saudi Arabia) said that the Palestinians’ only fault was to protest against Israeli aggression and stand up against the desecration of their sanctuaries. The Israeli media had tried to blame events on the Palestinians. For example, the killing of the two Israeli policemen in Ramallah would never have happened had not defenceless Palestinian -- civilians, children, women and the elderly -- been killed. The Israelis, for example, had mercilessly fired at a child, who fell victim to the tyranny of Israel. He did not come from all corners of the earth to occupy other people’s territories. The major reason for the last Palestinian uprising was the desecration of Islamic sanctuaries, as the Israeli Government had never protected Islamic sanctuaries.

Demonstrations took place everywhere in the world, he said, and security forces protected people, they did not commit murder. Palestinians died without raising the conscience of anyone, but when two Israeli soldiers were killed, it raised an outcry. The international community had to deal with the root causes and find out the real facts. The Palestinians felt that they were threatened. Their land was being usurped, their houses bulldozed, their merchandise stopped at Israeli borders, and their labourers stopped from going into Israel to earn a living. How could there not be an uprising? The aggression against Islamic shrines would have disastrous consequences, which would reflect negatively on the entire area. Talking about peace was not enough, he said, if it was not accompanied by deeds and actions.

MARTIN ANDJABA (Namibia) said that Namibia strongly condemned the current wave of violence unleashed by Israeli security forces against Palestinians. He was particularly disheartened by the large number of deaths and injuries that resulted from the use of excessive force by Israel, and its indiscriminate deployment of heavy weaponry. He expressed profound condolences to the families of all those killed and wounded. The inhuman military occupation and economic strangulation of Palestinian territories must be stopped.

The recent events, he said, had again highlighted grave breaches by Israel of the Fourth Geneva Convention, on protection of civilians in wartime. As the occupying Power, Israel should ensure that all that Convention’s provisions were implemented. It was crucial that an independent fact-finding commission be established. Namibia steadfastly supported the just struggle of the Palestinian people for independence and self-determination. All relevant Security Council resolutions should be implemented.

Both parties must now calm the situation, and thereafter resume the peace process, he said. In that regard, Namibia welcomed efforts by the Secretary-General and the outcome of the Sharm el-Sheikh Summit. He fully supported the draft resolution before the Assembly.

YUKIO SATOH (Japan) said it was of crucial importance that both sides implemented the Sharm el-Sheikh agreement without waiting for the other side to do so, and called on them to abide by the agreement and restore calm throughout the region as soon as possible. It was also imperative for the international community to support and encourage the implementation of the agreement.

He added that the situation witnessed during the past three weeks was deplorable and that violent clashes had claimed the lives of more than 100 people, most of them civilians and some of them innocent children. Japan deplored the escalated violence in Jerusalem and other areas, and condemned all acts of provocation, any form of violence and the excessive use of force. He urged all parties concerned to do their utmost to put an end to violence and to exercise the utmost restraint.

He ended by saying that the current crisis underscored the need for a negotiated settlement, which was the only option, and called on the parties concerned to make every effort to rebuild mutual confidence and resume the peace process as soon as possible. He added that Japan was ready to extend all possible assistance to help implement the agreement reached at Sharm el-Sheikh.

SAEED HASAN (Iraq) said the second half of the twentieth century had witnessed great successes of the Organization and the international community in decolonization and putting an end to foreign occupation, except for one case, namely, the beginning and continuation of the Zionist occupation of Palestinian territories. Caused by intensive immigration from different nationalities, based on a religious belief, excessive force had been used to force Palestinians to leave their homes and lands. The last manifestation of this was the use of the occupier’s forces against the Palestinians who acted against “the provocation by the terrorist Sharon”. The use of military force had led to the killing of more than a hundred, with more than 3,000 people injured. It had engulfed all Palestinians cities and villages.

The actions of the forces of the Zionist occupation, he said, were crimes against humanity and war crimes. In addition, the occupation authorities had imposed a full siege on all Palestinian cities and villages and deprived them of medicine and food. Through the use of force and starvation, the forces thought they would be able to break the will of the people. They were mistaken. The intifada and the solidarity shown was the response to that. Sooner or later, the aggressors would be defeated. The Security Council had considered the aggressive actions against civilians and, because of a threat of veto, had adopted a resolution which did not contain even a minimum of a response to the threat to security.

Modest as they were, he said, the steps mentioned in the resolution were not implemented. No committee had been established to investigate the events, and the occupying Power had intensified the bombings. The American representative had announced that he would use the veto against any draft resolution in the Security Council. The Arab group had, therefore, asked for resumption of the tenth emergency special session of the Assembly. The Assembly was called upon to deal with the grave threat to the regional and international peace and security in the seriousness it deserved. It should contribute, even modestly, to the corrections of historical mistakes.

JUAN GABRIEL VALDES (Chile) said his Government believed that the Middle East had overcome the language of hate and violence and seemed on the road to peace, obviously not without difficulties, towards a just and acceptable resolution of the long-standing conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians. But that was not the case, and what happened in the past few days left a toll of more than 100 people dead, the majority Palestinians. The moving images etched on our consciences –- that of a small boy murdered in the arms of his father and two Israeli soldiers killed by a mob -– demonstrated that violence engendered more violence.

Recent events made the renewal of negotiations necessary for peace to prevail in the Middle East, he said. Both sides must recognize that they must live together, and that tolerance and respect for one another must be the basis for their relationship. The process that began in Oslo had once seemed impossible. All parties must take steps to halt all acts of violence.

Chile reiterated its fervent call for all parties to impede all acts of force that aggravate the situation in the area. Its foreign policy was guided by the principle of peaceful resolution of disputes; respect for the pertinent United Nations resolutions, in this case resolutions 242, 338 and 1332; the protection of human lives, especially civilians; and the rights of Israelis and Palestinians to live within recognized borders. He expressed support for the initiatives by President Bill Clinton of the United States, President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, and the Secretary-General of the United Nations in calling for an immediate end to hostilities, so that the climate in which both parties could return to the negotiating table might be restored.

GELSON FONSECA, JR. (Brazil) said the proportion of the tragedy and its consequences for international peace indeed required a discussion by the General Assembly. No one could be indifferent to the sad events and the escalation of the confrontation in the Middle East. He deeply deplored the outburst of violence that had engulfed the Palestinian territories and condemned the excessive use of force, which had led to a spiral of senseless acts of brutality. He strongly urged both sides to bring the bloodshed to a halt. He appealed to the peoples and governments of the region to exercise restraint and gather the required political will to achieve a just, comprehensive and lasting peace.

He said he was particularly concerned that the last two weeks of tragedy and suffering had come at a time when the international community had placed its hopes in negotiations and understanding. Unfortunately, the diplomatic efforts and calls for restraint had not been successful. He nurtured the hope that the recent Sharm el-Sheikh understandings might create an atmosphere for reflection and lead to the resumption of meaningful negotiations. In the present circumstances, it was even more urgent that the United Nations play a more decisive role in the Middle East. International law must be enforced and negotiations must be resumed.

He urged Israeli and Palestinian leaders to heed the appeals of the international community. The only way to produce mutually beneficial lasting results was through negotiation, constructive dialogue and respect for agreements. Peace was achievable. It was his expectation that the debate today would prompt those in a position to do so to put and end to the violence. All peoples of the region deserved an environment of political freedom, peace and stability.

ZIED RA’AD ZIED AL-HUSSEIN (Jordan) said that the Government of Jordan deplored the situation of the Palestinian people, and the acts of aggression and crimes perpetrated against Palestinian citizens. Jordan shared the regret over events in Ramallah last week and hoped there would be an inquiry into the matter. Victims should be able to enjoy protection as stipulated in the Geneva Conventions, and judicial proceedings should be taken against those responsible for the crimes.

The situation that prevailed in the occupied territories was the consequence of forces that refused to work towards peace. If the international community let fanaticism and extremism continue, it would give rise to further extremism and prevent dialogue that could achieve peace. Jordan reaffirmed that it adhered to the Palestinian fraternal cause, and offered its condolences to the Palestinian people and authorities.

JASSIM MOHAMMED BUALLAY (Bahrain) said more than 20 days had passed since the start of this intifada after Sharon’s provocation. Regrettably, despite all diplomatic efforts, the Israeli government still insisted on the use of excessive force against the intifada. The international community had not risen up to its responsibility. Every effort must be made to stop Israeli aggression. The tenth emergency session should aim at putting a stop to grave violations by Israel against Palestinian territory. The pictures of children killed by Israeli bullets and rockets were still in our mind. Those who had committed those crimes should be tried in an international court.

It had been surprising to listen to the Israeli representative on Wednesday when he spoke about the killing of two soldiers of a special unit, depicting it as a great tragedy, he said. He asked what those soldiers were doing there. The particular unit had previously entered Palestinian villages and committed brutal acts against defenceless civilians. Some people try to confuse others as to the facts of what goes on in Palestine, but those attempts would never succeed because that was a technologically advanced world. He asked what the real problem in the Middle East was, and whether Palestinians occupied Israeli land and displaced its population. The problem was in the continuation of the occupation of Palestinian land by Israel. In order for the crisis to end, all Arab territories occupied by Israel should be freed. He called on the international community to apply all pressure on Israel so that Palestinians could live in security and peace, and have their own state with Jerusalem as capital.

JOHN DE SARAM (Sri Lanka) said that sensitivity and thoughtfulness were essential requirements, if violence was not to erupt where deep human emotions were in conflict, where a mood of frustration and hopelessness pervaded, and where tensions were always close to dangerous and explosive levels. The meeting at Sharm el-Sheikh was convened to restore calm to the region and in the hope that the peace might eventually return. He hoped that all concerned would take the steps necessary to assist the peace process.

Speaking as Chairman of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories, he expressed concern at the magnitude of force with which the Israelis had acted, the large number of Palestinians killed and wounded, including the very young, the nature of the military weaponry deployed, the sealing off of Palestinian territories, and the general restriction on Palestinian movement in the occupied territories.

He said the Special Committee believed that the entire system of occupation of the Palestinian territories constituted a violation of human rights. The Committee stressed the importance of having Prime Minister Barak and Chairman Arafat return as speedily as possible to the peace process.

MADAN LAL KHURANA (India) told the General Assembly that India was convinced of the need for dialogue and peaceful negotiations to find a just, comprehensive and lasting settlement of all issues between Palestinians and Israelis. India had watched with deep concern and consternation recent incidents of violence that had erupted in Jerusalem, the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and other parts of the Palestinian National Authority and Israel. It was particularly shocking to see the large number of casualties among children. In light of this, India had decided to airlift medical supplies to the Palestinian Red Crescent Society.

Unfortunately, the spiral of violence had weakened the atmosphere of the Middle East peace process, where the overriding need of the hour was for restraint, avoidance of provocation, and shunning the use of force, he said. It must be remembered that there had been considerable progress in the peace process and that the events of the last few days should not be allowed to retard or delay it. The leaders of Palestine and Israel had come a long way on the road to peace, which was, he said, “a one-way journey from which there cannot and should not be a going back”. It was necessary for determination and commitment to resolve the issues peacefully.

To begin with, India hoped that violence would be rejected and that diplomacy and statesmanship would triumph, he said. He believed that that was beginning to happen, and hoped the outcome of the Sharm el-Sheikh Summit would be an end to violence and would pave the way to the negotiating table. He appreciated the tireless efforts of the Secretary-General to stop the violence and to encourage both sides back on the path of a lasting and just peace. In conclusion, the people of Israel and Palestine were destined to live as neighbours. Peace was not an option, but rather the only way.

M. PATRICIA DURRANT (Jamaica) stated the General Assembly had continuously encouraged an end to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict through an active negotiating process, which took into account the right to security for all States in the region. She believed that it was only through negotiation that a lasting solution would be found to the Israeli/Palestinian situation. Her Government regretted the recent outbreak of violence in Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, condemning the excessive use of force against Palestinian civilians.

She said Jamaica was concerned by the destabilizing effects that the recent violence had on the peace process. It fully supported Security Council resolution 1322 (2000), adopted on 7 October, and called for full compliance of the parties with its provisions and, therefore, urged the parties to refrain from the use of force and provocative acts which served only to undermine the peace process. Despite periodic setbacks, the search for peace must continue, and it was hoped that the Sharm el-Sheikh agreement was the foundation for progress.

The Secretary-General must be commended for his tireless diplomatic efforts, which resulted in a commitment by the parties to resolve their differences peacefully. The cycle of distrust must be broken in order for the Palestinians and Israelis to coexist in peace and mutual security.

SOTIRIOS ZACKHEOS (Cyprus) said that a lesson to be drawn from the present escalation of violence was that, unless peace efforts and initiatives were based on international law, the achievement of peace would remain on shaky grounds. Solutions to problems must be perceived as fair and accepted as such by the populations concerned, otherwise the sense of resentment and opposition would sweep away any agreements that were based on ephemeral considerations.

He said that the absence of a solution to the Middle East problem had led to instability, which was due to the continuing frustration of people who longed to achieve their legitimate rights and to live in peace and dignity. He believed that the security of all States should be a necessary component of peace in the region and called for an end to the violence which did not serve the interest of either party. Cyprus supported all international initiatives and efforts aimed at preventing the conflict from escalating and was ready to host any meeting or offer any other assistance that was deemed appropriate.

MIKHAIL WEHBE (Syria) said that this session had a special purpose. The Security Council could not meet because of the refusal of one country and its threat to use the veto, despite the fact that resolution 1322 said that the Council would be following developments closely and would be seized of the situation. The Council was unable to resume its responsibilities, so the Arab Group was prompted to hold this special session.

He said the pictures of the killing of the child and the other children did not touch the feelings of the Israeli Government. The Israeli forces continued their racism. Israeli gun ships missiles and tanks were used against a defenceless people. In the last few days, it almost declared an all-out war against them to make them accept the Israeli terms of peace.

He said the tragic events had proven once again the aggressive, racist nature of Israel. The Security Council meeting had denounced Israeli aggression in Jerusalem and condemned the excessive use of force against the Palestinians. Israel had challenged the Geneva Convention, humanitarian international law and the latest resolution of the Security Council, and did not pay heed to any resolution or agreement. Israel alone bore the full responsibility for the escalating tension in the region, and the huge imbalance in the Middle East, and must implement Security Council resolutions 242 and 338, the principle of land for peace, and restore Palestinian territory. Jerusalem was Arab, Jerusalem was occupied, and it must be returned to the Palestinians.

AHMED SNOUSSI (Morocco) was pleased to hear the report of the Secretary-General and paid tribute to his courage. Great hope arose after Sharm el-Sheikh, and he thanked the participants of the Summit. It would, unfortunately, not calm the pain of those who had lost their children. The harm done to the Palestinian people would take a long time to heal. He was indignant that blame was put on the victims of the catastrophe, but the international community knew what had happened and Israel realized that the catastrophe was triggered by the act of an irresponsible man. He hoped that wisdom would prevail to overcome the regrettable incidents.

Israel should make honourable amends, he said. Nobody could allow that the future of two peoples would be sacrificed. The committee, decided upon at the Summit in Sharm el-Sheikh, should be created quickly. The withdrawal of tanks, also decided upon, must not be delayed either. Israel must show that it wants peace. Security Council resolutions 242 and 338 provided the basis for peace. There was still time.

He hoped that Palestine would rediscover its glory and live in peace and happiness, and expressed solidarity with the Palestinian people.

ELFATIH MOHAMMED AHMED ERWA (Sudan) extended thanks to the Secretary-General for his constructive initiative and for the information he provided on conditions in the region. The work of the emergency special session was required because in occupied Palestine the international community had witnessed brutal crimes after Ariel Sharon desecrated the mosque, which was a provocative act against Arabs and Muslims. By its aggression, Israel had tried to make talks irrelevant and exposed its desire to gain sovereignty over Jerusalem.

He said that developments in the occupied territories since September, including the killing of Palestinians and the violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention for the protection of civilians during times of war, made clear Israeli objectives against defenceless people. The Sudan condemned the ongoing violence. While the ink of Sharm el-Sheikh Summit had yet to dry, victims were still falling. Palestinians were becoming martyrs as a consequence of the heinous crimes of the Israelis, which included torture and killing, and for which they used the most lethal weapons.

The Sudan called on the General Assembly to implement resolutions 242 and 338 and asked that Israel completely withdraw from the occupied territories. He supported the draft resolution, which would send a strong message to Israel to obey international law.

OLE PETER KOLBY (Norway) said it was of the greatest concern that the unrest was ongoing, and voices were still heard in favour of continued violence. Frustrations and distrust between Israel and the Palestinians had emerged, and peace had suffered a tremendous setback. Now, it was important to search for common ground, in order to return to the negotiating table. The understanding reached at Sharm el-Sheikh was an important step in rebuilding the peace process. The fact-finding mission must be impartial and have the healing of wounds as its primary goal.

Israel, with its military might, had a special responsibility to show restraint, and the Palestinian leadership should do its utmost to prevent demonstrations from becoming violent. Norway, as chair of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee, was also gravely concerned about the long-term implications of the conflict on ongoing work to develop the Palestinian economy.

The international community must support all efforts to rebuild trust between the parties, he said. As the peace process was the only means of ensuring lasting peace and stability, preparing the ground for resumed negotiations was paramount. The international community must let the Sharm el-Sheikh process work and avoid all actions that would derail the fragile process. There was clearly no alternative to the quest for peace. It was the international community’s duty to exert all efforts for peace, for the benefit of all.

MASAO NAKAYAMA (Federated States of Micronesia) noted the conciliatory role the Secretary-General had played in encouraging peace in the Middle East. His Government expressed its deep sympathy to the Israeli and Palestinian people, urging both sides to make peace. The United Nations must remain objective and impartial in finding peace in the region.

MAHMOUD MOHAMMED ABOUD (Comoros) said that his delegation supported the efforts of the Secretary-General. Over the last two weeks, the international community had been shocked by the images of violence. The actions of the Israeli forces were not justified actions. This morning, the Israeli army had shot civilians, and his Government was convinced that the United Nations should set up a mechanism to deal with those who had brought about the violence. The international community should condemn the Israelis. The question of Palestine should be the responsibility of the United Nations.

ANUAND PRIYAY NEEWOOR (Mauritius) said just a few weeks ago we were on the verge of celebrating the conclusion of an agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, which would have let the people of that region live in peace. There had been hope that the last Camp David lap would be completed sooner rather than later. Unfortunately, that was not to be. Hopes that were so high were shattered on account of a provocative act by Israel in not preventing the visit of Ariel Sharon to the holy shrine of Al-Haram Al-Sharif.

He deplored the excessive use of force by Israel, which had resulted in the killing of innocent civilians, he said. Violence only bred more violence and was no alternative to meeting the aspirations of all people of the region to live in peace. He called on all parties to recreate a conducive environment of mutual trust, and to resume the peace talks. He firmly believed in the inalienable right of the Palestinian people to live in peace, and the Sharm el-Sheikh meeting had revived hope for peace in the Middle East.

JOSÉ ANTONIO LINATI-BOSCH, Permanent Observer for the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, said globalization could also be applied to conflicts and problems since political events were also globalized. When there was a struggle for power, or when the differences between communities led to armed conflicts in different parts of the world, the phenomenon of globalization reached everyone impacting not only on the part of the world where the conflict was developing, but on the international community, as well. There had to be awareness of that problem, of the injustice and of the calamities that grew from intolerance and misunderstanding.

The activity of the United Nations could and must be the platform on which to build a community, in which differences would be overcome through an understanding that included financial, legal and technical measures to be implemented through Israeli-Palestinian cooperation. The framework of self-determination, national sovereignty and independence must be respectfully observed as the cornerstones of peaceful development.

JENO C.A. STAEHELIN, Permanent Observer for Switzerland, said that the international community could not ignore the suffering in the Middle East. Based on the fundamental principles of humanity, the international community must reassess the function of international law and, in particular, international humanitarian law. His delegation welcomed the Secretary-General’s efforts, and shared the hope that the meeting at Sharm el-Sheikh could bring events in the Middle East to a successful conclusion.

The responsibility for peace in the Middle East lay, first and foremost, with the involved parties, but also with the international community, he said. Only respect for the rights of the individual would bring about peace in the region. He hoped that the recent talks would enable the international community to relaunch the peace process.

Introduction of Draft

Mr. ABOULGHEIT (Egypt) introduced a draft resolution on illegal Israel actions in occupied East Jerusalem and the rest of the occupied Palestinian territory (document A/ES-10/L.6). He expressed regret for the delay in distribution of the text. He appealed to all Member States in the United Nations which respected human rights and rejected occupation to vote for the draft.

The Assembly decided to waive the provision of rule 78 of the Rules of Procedure, which states that no proposal should be put to a vote unless copies of it had been circulated to all delegations not later than the day preceding the meeting.

By the terms the draft, the Assembly would condemn the violence that took place on 28 September 2000 and in the days after at Al-Haram Al-Sharif and other holy places in Jerusalem, as well as in other areas in the occupied Palestinian territory. This violence has resulted in over 100 deaths, the vast majority Palestinian civilians, and many other casualties. The Assembly would also condemn acts of violence, especially the excessive use of force by Israeli forces against Palestinian citizens.

Also by the text, the Assembly would demand the immediate cessation of violence and use of force, and calls upon the parties to act immediately to reverse all measures taken in this regard since 28 September and acknowledges that necessary steps have been taken by the parties in this direction since the Summit. The Assembly would express support for the understandings reached at Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. It would also urge all parties concerned to implement these understandings honestly and without delay.

By other terms of the draft, the Assembly would demand that Israel, the occupying Power, abide scrupulously by its legal obligations and its responsibilities under the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 on the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, applicable to all territories occupied by Israel since 1967.

The Assembly would reiterate that Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem, are illegal and an obstacle to peace. It would also call for the prevention of illegal acts of violence by Israeli settlers.

By further terms, the Assembly would strongly support the establishment of a mechanism of inquiry into the recent tragic events, with the aim of establishing all the precise facts and preventing the repetition of these events, and in this regard the understanding reached at the Summit on a committee of fact-finding, and would call for its establishment without delay. The Assembly would also call upon the Security Council to closely follow the situation, including the implementation of resolution 1322 (2000) of 7 October.

By the text, the Assembly would support efforts towards the resumption of the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations within the Middle East peace process on its agreed basis. It would also call for the speedy conclusion of the final settlement agreement between the two sides.

The text was sponsored by Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Comoros, Cuba, Djibouti, Egypt, Indonesia, Jordan, Kuwait, Malaysia, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, Yemen and Palestine.

Action on Draft

SAFAK GOKTURK (Turkey) said he would vote for the draft resolution. His country was profoundly concerned by the events since 28 September and deeply grieved by every loss of life. However difficult it might be, leadership on all sides required the will power to stay the course towards lasting peace. He applauded the summit of Sharm el-Sheikh for what it had achieved. The tension had to be lowered to put the peace process on track. The events had proved that building on violence and excessive use of force was no recipe for peace. It required calm, moderation and a forward-looking spirit.

The Assembly, in a recorded vote, adopted the resolution, by 92 voting in favour to 6 against (Federated States of Micronesia, Israel, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Tuvalu, United States), with 46 abstentions.

Mr. SAMADI (Iran) said that Iran had voted in favour of the draft resolution, but wished to state that it opposed any resolution which acknowledged the existence of the State of Israel.

JEAN-DAVID LEVITTE (France) said that for three weeks the Middle East had been plunged into tragedy, but the hope for peace had not totally disappeared. The decisions taken at Sharm el-Sheikh had to be applied. The recent news was of concern, and there had been nine deaths today. The text that had just been adopted was a good text. The European Union was unanimous in its message. The international community had to stop the violence now. Reason and tolerance had to prevail once again over the force of hatred.

FAYSSAL MEKDAD (Syria) said Syria had voted in favor of the draft resolution. This was because of Syria’s continuing support for the struggle of the Palestinian people against occupation, as well as against the continuing acts of violence by Israel. In order to provide protection to the Palestinian people in the occupied territories, the resolution demanded respect for the Fourth Geneva Convention. He stressed that he could not accept terms equating the aggressor with the victims -- the Palestinians -- and could not agree to references which did not apportion responsibility clearly and unequivocally to Israel for the massacres. He expressed reservations about references to understandings to which Syria was not party, as well as reservations about certain agreements on which it had previously expressed its position. Any resolution not taking up the roots of the question of Palestine and calling for an end to the suffering of the Palestinian people would fall below the expectations of the international community for a just and lasting settlement of the conflict of the Middle East.

Mr. FONSECA (Brazil) said that the countries in his region wished for an end to the acts of violence and a return to the peace process by both parties.

Mr. KOLBY (Norway) said that Norway had abstained on the resolution. His country regretted the loss of life and the suffering. He welcomed the meeting at Sharm el-Sheikh, supported the establishment of a fact-finding mission, and felt that the role of the international community should be to re-establish an atmosphere of peace. Norway had abstained because the draft had contained elements that they felt detracted from what should be the priority.

Rights of Reply

YEHUDA LANCRY (Israel), exercising his right of reply, welcomed the remarkable intervention of the Secretary-General -- the architect of the recent summit at Sharm el-Sheikh -- which had led to a welcome move towards dialogue. He welcomed the responsible and constant work of the Egyptian President who attempted to substitute dialogue for belligerence. He expressed his admiration for the United States President because of his generous presence and his work towards peace in the region.

He had noted the recurrence and insistence upon the notion of “occupied territories”. Since the signing of the Oslo accords, Israel had adhered to a policy of non-occupation. He highlighted the moves towards peace Israel had made, and the steps taken by Prime Minister Ehud Barak towards a final status that was just for all sides. He recalled that the occupation had not fallen from the sky, but was a result of cause and effect, following the attempt to annihilate Israel in 1967. He said the former President of France, François Mitterrand, had preferred the term “distributed territories”.

In Camp David, Prime Minister Barak had taken all possible risks to reach an end to the conflict, he said, and he regretted that President Arafat, instead of making a decision true to the aspiration of the Palestinian people, had chosen, because he could not respond to the call of history, to destabilize the region.

He rejected the resolution categorically, he said. It did not say anything about the savage mutilation of soldiers in Ramallah and was silent on the profanation of Jewish holy places. It sent a negative message, he said, and sowed major doubt as to the capacities of the Palestinians to be partners in peace and reconciliation. He thanked those peace-loving Member States that had made a courageous choice to object to the resolution.

On a point of order, YURI KAZHURA (Belarus) said that, had his delegation been present, it would have voted in support of the resolution.

NASSER AL-KIDWA, Permanent Observer for Palestine, exercising his right of reply, thanked the Secretary-General for all his positive efforts. He also extended thanks to all the countries that had co-sponsored the resolution and that had voted in favour. He was proud of the great majority that supported this resolution and was pleased that there were no objections other than the traditional objections. Those votes carried much more weight than the number they represented. He also extended thanks to the European Union presidency for its efforts. Unfortunately, the pressures were just too high. Some had exercised great pressure. As if their attempts to hegemonize the Security Council were not enough, they had attempted to do the same in the General Assembly.

Regrettably, all this came at an inappropriate time. Today, 10 more martyrs had fallen in the occupied Palestinian territories, and the holding of the Arab summit was tomorrow. His people would remember the principled position taken by those that had voted in favour of the resolution. Yet in the same vein, his people would watch with great concern the positions adopted by some. He strongly believed that this resolution would have an important influence, especially if Israel listened to the clear position taken by the international community. If the bloodthirsty actions did not cease, and Israel insisted on its acts of bloody aggression, Palestine would call for a resumption of the tenth emergency special session.


Vote on Israeli Actions in Occupied Territory

The Assembly adopted the resolution on illegal Israeli actions in occupied East Jerusalem and the rest of the occupied Palestinian territory (document A/ES-10/L.6) by a recorded vote of 92 in favour to 6 against, with 46 abstentions, as follows:

In favour: Algeria, Andorra, Argentina, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belgium, Belize, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Chile, China, Colombia, Côte d’Ivoire, Cuba, Cyprus, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Djibouti, Ecuador, Egypt, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Gambia, Ghana, Greece, Guinea, Guyana, India, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Jamaica, Jordan, Kuwait, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Lebanon, Libya, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Oman, Pakistan, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Syria, Thailand, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Against: Federated States of Micronesia, Israel, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Tuvalu, United States.

Abstain: Albania, Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Barbados, Benin, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Canada, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Estonia, Fiji, Germany, Grenada, Guatemala, Haiti, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Poland, Romania, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, San Marino, Sierra Leone, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Tonga, United Kingdom.

Absent: Afghanistan, Angola, Bahamas, Belarus, Bhutan, Cambodia, Chad, Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Dominica, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Gabon, Honduras, Kiribati, Lesotho, Malawi, Nigeria, Palau, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Solomon Islands, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu.

* *** *
For information media - not an official record