The PRESIDENT: Please be seated. The sitting is now open. The Court meets this afternoon to hear the following participants on the question submitted to the Court: South Africa, Algeria, Saudi Arabia and Bangladesh. Thus, I shall now give the floor to His Excellency Mr. Aziz Pahad, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of South Africa.
Mr. PAHAD: Mr. President, honourable judges, the Government of the Republic of South Africa humbly submits to this Court that there are compelling reasons for this Court to give an advisory opinion as requested by the United Nations General Assembly on 8 December 2003. As we have submitted in our Written Statement, we wish to reiterate that the jurisdiction of this Court to hear this matter is beyond question.
We believe that at stake are the lives of all the peoples in the Middle East, particularly the Palestinians and Israelis, as demonstrated by the suicide bombing in Jerusalem just yesterday, an incident that we also condemn.
This underlines the urgency for this hearing. The decision to confirm the jurisdiction of this Court would send a clear message to the Palestinians and Israelis that they must redouble their efforts in achieving peace in the interest of their peoples.
Honourable judges, the legal consequences arising from the construction of the separation Wall is an issue that this Court cannot ignore. The separation Wall is not a security wall. It is a wall to enforce occupation, a wall that has separated hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from their families, homes, lands, and religious sites. We submit that this Court should deal with the merits of this case no matter how difficult or complicated they may be.
South Africa, which was once a subject of this Court, is in the midst of celebrating ten years of our democracy. After centuries of division and conflict, South Africans found the political will to build a new democratic society based on reconciliation and peaceful coexistence. The fact that this Court had the courage to pronounce on the Legal Consequences for States of the Continued Presence of South Africa in Namibia contributed to the achievement of democracy in our region.
We fully understood then, as we do now, that there could be no military solution to fundamental political problems.
Therefore, South Africa is committed to a two-State solution . the State of Israel within secure borders and a viable Palestinian State within equally secure borders. The separation Wall is anathema to the peace process as envisaged in the Road Map as it eliminates the prospect of the two-State solution. As His Holiness Pope John Paul II has so eloquently stated, the Middle East needs bridges and not walls.
Honourable judges, in rendering the advisory opinion requested by the General Assembly, this Court could play a fundamental role in contributing meaningfully towards sustainable peace and security in the Middle East, and indeed the whole world. I now have the honour to introduce Advocate Madlanga, Senior Counsel, and his legal team . Ms de Wet, Ms Lujiza, and Mr. Stemmet . to complete our submission.
The PRESIDENT: Thank you, Your Excellency. I now give the floor to Mr. Madlanga.
Mr. MADLANGA: Thank you, Mr. President. Honourable Members.