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16th plenary meeting
Friday, 22 September 2006, 10 a.m.
The meeting was called to order at 10.10 a.m.
The Acting President : On behalf of the General Assembly, I have the honour to welcome to the United Nations His Excellency Mr. Jalal Talabani, President of the Republic of Iraq, and to invite him to address the Assembly.
President Talabani (spoke in Arabic ): ...
... As we are working tirelessly for a secure and stable Iraq, we are also striving to re-establish an advanced and developed State where everybody can enjoy peace and security. We aspire to that not only for Iraq, but also for all States of the Middle East. This reflects Iraq’s concern, despite its preoccupation with its internal situation, about the suffering of its Arab brothers, especially the Palestinians.
Iraq recognizes the implications of the destruction suffered by the brotherly State of Lebanon and its proud people as a result of the Israeli military onslaught. Therefore, we call for implementation of the resolutions of international legitimacy for resolving the Palestinian question, which is at the core of this chronic conflict. We call for implementation of Security Council resolution 1701 (2006) concerning the brotherly State of Lebanon, which deserves sympathy and genuine support through funding and technology from all civilized nations, not solely from its Arab brethren.
The ongoing crises and wars in our region impose an enormous responsibility on the international community and the States of the region themselves to reach a just and permanent political settlement that would defuse crises, conflicts and wars. It also makes it incumbent upon us to reach a just and lasting peace that rids the area — and humanity — of the scourge of war, bloody conflict and terrorism.
Agenda item 8 ( continued)
The President : I have great pleasure in welcoming His Excellency The Honourable Navinchandra Ramgoolam, Prime Minister of the Republic of Mauritius, and inviting him to address the General Assembly.
Mr. Ramgoolam (Mauritius): ...
Since our last annual meeting, several ongoing conflicts have remained unresolved and new ones have emerged. The situation in the Middle East continues to be a major preoccupation for the international community. While violence is still raging in Iraq and peace still eludes the Palestinian people, the recent conflict involving Israel and Hizbullah has not only cost so many innocent lives but has also resulted in the wanton destruction of vital infrastructure within Lebanon. Now that the guns have finally fallen silent, we urge all concerned in this unnecessary month-long conflict to abide fully by the provisions of Security Council resolution 1701 (2006) and to settle their outstanding issues through United Nations mediation.
There seems to be a unanimous view in the world today that the Middle East remains the epicentre of global insecurity and instability. Global peace and prosperity will remain an elusive dream unless and until the international community stretches all its diplomatic sinews to create conditions for lasting peace in the region. Mauritius strongly believes that a fair and final peace settlement in the Israel-Palestine conflict rests in the early implementation of the existing road map that has been endorsed by the international community.
We reiterate our support for an independent and sovereign Palestinian State existing side by side with the State of Israel.
The President : I now give the floor to Her Excellency Mrs. Margaret Beckett, MP, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
Mrs. Beckett (United Kingdom): ...
In the Middle East the United Nations is playing a vital role in establishing stability in southern Lebanon. Troops from the European Union are deploying alongside those from the Middle East, Asia and Africa. All Member States must meet their obligations under Security Council resolutions 1701 (2006), 1559 (2004) and 1680 (2006), if we are to enable Lebanon to be the proud, democratic and diverse nation that its people want it to be.
But we are all aware that this most recent conflict in Lebanon had its roots in the continuing failure to achieve a just solution to the Palestinian question. That is why the United Kingdom has consistently argued that there can be no higher priority than reinvigorating the Middle East peace process.
The President : I now give the floor to His Excellency Mr. Li Zhaoxing, Minister for Foreign Affairs of China.
Mr. Li Zhaoxing (China) (spoke in Chinese ): ...
As regards the Lebanese-Israeli conflict, China opposes any move that will undermine peace and stability in the region, and calls for a comprehensive cessation of hostilities. China welcomes Security Council resolution 1701 (2006) and hopes that it will be strictly observed. China hopes that the parties concerned will reach an early agreement on a framework of political settlement that is both just and durable.
The question of Palestine is at the core of the Middle East issue. The peace process should be re-started in keeping with the relevant resolutions of the United Nations and the principle of land for peace, in the interest of reaching an early and comprehensive settlement of the Middle East issue, including the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, so that the countries involved can live in harmony and the region can enjoy durable peace.
The President: I give the floor to His Excellency Mr. Yousef Bin Al-Alawi Bin Abdulla, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs of Oman.
Mr. Abdulla (Oman) (spoke in Arabic ): ...
This session is convening in difficult times and amid important changes. Despite the successes achieved by the United Nations in establishing the Human Rights Council, the Peacebuilding Commission and the Central Emergency Response Fund, numerous dangers and challenges still lie ahead. The situation in the occupied Palestinian territories remains very tense as a result of Israel’s actions, including killing, terrorizing, collective punishment, the demolition of homes and other practices that run counter to the noble objectives of the peace process. There are requirements and obligations that must be fulfilled in order to reach a peaceful settlement between Israel and the Palestinians.
Hence, we express our support for the call by the League of Arab States to refer the entire Arab-Israeli conflict to the Security Council, in order to find a lasting, comprehensive and peaceful settlement. That call reaffirms the commitment of the Arab States to peace — as a strategic option and a basis for peaceful coexistence between the Arab countries and the State of Israel as envisioned in the Arab peace initiative.
The world has recently witnessed the tragedy of the Israeli invasion of Lebanon, with the resulting destruction and huge loss of life and property. We affirm our support to the brotherly Lebanese people in that brutal crisis. We welcome the adoption by the Security Council of its resolution 1701 (2006) and hope that it will enhance security and stability in the region. The positive response to the Secretary-General’s call for greater participation in the enhanced United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) is a clear indication of the support the international community accords to Lebanon.
The President: I now call on His Excellency Mr. Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Germany.
Mr. Steinmeier (Germany) ( spoke in German; English text provided by the delegation ): ...
In the Middle East, it is crucial, following Security Council resolution 1701 (2006), on Lebanon, that we seize the opportunity to promote understanding. I call on all parties to the conflict in the region to act responsibly. Those who want their children and grandchildren to live in peace instead of violence, in safety instead of fear, in prosperity instead of poverty, must have the courage to embark on new paths rather than simply cultivating long-standing enmities.
The principles for a settlement are clear: Israel’s right to exist, on the one hand, and the establishment of a Palestinian State, on the other. Those were the core concerns of the Road Map, to which, I am firmly convinced, we must return. However, if we are to ensure lasting success, we must do everything we can to include everyone involved, even if that seems a roundabout way to achieve our goal. Therefore, I hope that we will succeed in persuading Syria to engage in a constructive dialogue. We need stronger engagement on the part of the international community, particularly the Middle East Quartet. I welcome the Quartet’s recent meeting.
The meeting rose at 1.20 p.m.
This record contains the text of speeches delivered in English and of the interpretation of speeches delivered in the other languages. Corrections should be submitted to the original languages only. They should be incorporated in a copy of the record and sent under the signature of a member of the delegation concerned to the Chief of the Verbatim Reporting Service, room C-154A. Corrections will be issued after the end of the session in a consolidated corrigendum.