Follow UNISPAL Twitter RSS
The meeting was called to order at 10.10 a.m.
Address by Mr. Abdoulaye Wade, President of the Republic of Senegal
The President (spoke in French ): The Assembly will now hear an address by the President of the Republic of Senegal.
Mr. Abdoulaye Wade, President of the Republic of Senegal, was escorted into the General Assembly Hall.
The President (spoke in French ): On behalf of the General Assembly, I have the honour to welcome to the United Nations His Excellency Mr. Abdoulaye Wade, President of the Republic of Senegal, and to invite him to address the General Assembly.
President Wade (spoke in French ): ...
This denial of justice also affects the valiant people of Palestine, who, under the legitimate authority of President Yasser Arafat, have been deprived of its fundamental right to sovereignty and ongoing existence. The defiant attitude of the occupying Power vis-à-vis the international community, recently illustrated by the Israeli authorities’ refusal to abide by the opinion of the International Court of Justice requiring Israel to immediately stop the illegal building of the separation wall in Palestinian territory, imperils the foundations of international legality. I solemnly appeal to the international community and, in particular, to the members of the Quartet, asking them to persevere in their efforts for an immediate resumption of dialogue, so that we may achieve a fair, equitable and lasting solution to this disagreement. The peoples of Palestine and Israel, needless to recall, are condemned by history and geography to live together.
For our part, Senegal, which chairs the United Nations Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, will continue, with its people, to unfailingly support the Palestinian people, battered by this crisis that has lasted far too long. As a contribution to the quest for peace, I suggested that we conduct a special meeting, outside our regular work, on the situation in Palestine aimed at enhancing the work launched by the Quartet and in the spirit of the road map, in order to establish by 2005 a sovereign and viable Palestinian State, living side by side with the State of Israel, within safe and internationally recognized borders guaranteed for the two States. This initiative, which has already been endorsed by the Non-Aligned Movement and the African Union, will provide an opportunity to mobilize the international community around the effective implementation of the road map.
Address by Mr. Tassos Papadopoulos, President of the Republic of Cyprus
The President (spoke in French ): The Assembly will now hear an address by the President of Cyprus.
Mr. Tassos Papadopoulos, President of the Republic of Cyprus, was escorted into the General Assembly Hall.
The President (spoke in French ): On behalf of the General Assembly, I have the honour to welcome to the United Nations His Excellency Mr. Tassos Papadopoulos, President of the Republic of Cyprus, and to invite him to address the Assembly.
President Papadopoulos: ...
The Middle East is another region that remains volatile, despite growing global concern and despite many attempts to restore the peace process in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. We deem to be necessary more active involvement by the Quartet in the efforts to implement the road map and put an end to the cycle of violence. More emphasis should also be placed on the task of improving living conditions in order to normalize people’s lives to the greatest possible extent. Our support remains focused on ending the occupation, achieving a just and viable settlement based on United Nations resolutions, and the realization of the Palestinian people’s aspirations for the establishment of an independent State, living side by side with Israel in conditions of sustainable peace and security.
The President (spoke in French): I now call on His Excellency Mr. Silvan Shalom, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Israel.
Mr. Shalom (Israel): ...
The international community now also realizes, as reflected in Security Council resolution 1559 (2004), that Syria’s occupation of Lebanon and its support for Palestinian terror must end if our collective aspirations are to be fulfilled.
And the international community now realizes that terror and tyranny are the twin enemies of the individual freedoms and human rights — including the right to life itself — which define our humanity.
Today, the community of nations knows that securing freedom and democracy for all the peoples of the world must be our collective goal. The pictures of human flesh torn apart by the terrorists, from New York to Beslan — and just yesterday, once again, in Jerusalem — are waking us up to the challenge we face.
In that spirit of unity, and in the name of all those in the world who suffer from terror and tyranny, I call on the Assembly to refocus its aspirations and its priorities. I call on the Assembly to end its obsession with Israel and to ensure that United Nations resources are allocated more equally and more effectively. Our United Nations must provide solutions to the global challenges of hunger and poverty, of disease and weapons proliferation, of drug trafficking and sustainable development. We must not let the Palestinian desire to vilify Israel distract our global community from the obligation to address the needs of all peoples.
I call on the Assembly to address head-on the active involvement of Iran and Syria in terrorism and Syria’s continued occupation of Lebanon. There can be no place in the community of nations for those who promote the killing of children. I call on the Assembly to promote practical measures to help nations cut off all financial and political lifelines of terror.
I call on the Assembly to address the growth of anti-Semitism and other forms of racism and intolerance. I urge you, Mr. President, and the Secretary-General, to convene a special session of the Assembly on that crucial matter. We all share the responsibility to educate our children to understanding and tolerance rather than to hatred and incitement.
We must build a united and global coalition to fight terrorism, racism and anti-Semitism. We must build a united front against the cold-blooded murderers of our children. In that battle, there is no middle ground. There is no room for explanations or excuses. There are no mitigating circumstances. Declarations and condemnations are very important, but they are not enough. Every nation, every Government, every leader has the responsibility to act. Those who choose instead to support and sponsor terror must be isolated and held to account for their crimes.
When I speak of terror and its dangers to life and freedom, I speak from bitter personal experience. My own home town of Beersheva suffered a double suicide bombing just three weeks ago. Sixteen innocent people were killed when their commuter buses were blown up. In the middle of an important meeting with visiting officials, I rushed to call my mother and brother to check that they were alive. Hamas, which operates freely from Palestinian territory and receives support and safe haven from the regimes in Damascus and Tehran, proudly claimed responsibility for that horrific attack.
Again yesterday, as I was meeting with the Secretary-General to discuss peace in the Middle East, I was passed a note informing me of a suicide atrocity, in which two more Israelis were blown to pieces by a Palestinian terrorist. And this morning, once again, yet more Palestinian murderers took the lives of three young Israelis in an attack on Morag.
In the last year alone, 150 Israelis have been killed and thousands more injured in more than 40 separate suicide bombings and other cold-blooded attacks. More than 200 additional suicide-bombing attempts were blocked by our defensive measures.
No Israeli mother is free of the fear that her child may be lost. No Israeli child is immune to the terrorists’ plans. In the name of God above and all humanity here on Earth, this killing must stop.
Palestinian terrorism is the key reason that the dream of peace in the Middle East has not yet become a reality. Combating this terror is crucial to the prospects for peace in our region. No peace initiative can survive if terrorists continue to enjoy a free hand to undermine it.
The road map recognizes this, calling, in phase one, for sustained Palestinian action against terror, the dismantling of terrorist organizations and the end of incitement in schools and the media. Sadly, the current Palestinian leadership has refused to fulfil those fundamental obligations, preferring to blame Israel for all its failures. The Palestinian side spends more energy fighting Israel here at the United Nations than it does fighting the terrorists in its own territory.
In the post-11-September world, this is not acceptable. The Palestinians are not exempt from the imperatives of the global war on terror. On the contrary, it is in their clear interest to join it. To stand up against Hamas and Islamic Jihad is to stand up for Palestinian rights, not against them.
We urge the international community to recognize this reality and help the voices of reform and moderation within Palestinian society to emerge. The future of the Palestinian people will be determined by the choices that the Palestinians and their leadership make on the ground. The solutions — for the Palestinians and Israelis as one — lie in Gaza and Ramallah, not in The Hague or New York.
Israel is acting in both the diplomatic and the security arenas to deal with the consequences of this chronic failure of the Palestinian leadership. On the diplomatic front, Israel accepted the road map in May 2003, and we remain committed to its realization. At this time, however, we have no responsible Palestinian partner ready to join us in this effort. Israel is now planning to implement the disengagement plan as a means of enhancing security and establishing a new, more promising platform for a return to negotiations. We are in constant contact with the donor community and the World Bank in a joint effort to rebuild Gaza in the wake of Israel’s withdrawal.
On the security front, Israel is building a security fence to stop the unchecked wave of Palestinian attacks. After 20,000 terrorist attacks, we deserve to protect our people. No other country would act otherwise after 20, let alone 20,000, terrorist attacks. The fence does not take lives. It saves them. Where there is a fence, there is no terror. Where there is no fence, there is terror. The modified route of the fence reflects the necessary balance between the security of our citizens and the welfare of the Palestinian population, as called for by Israel’s Supreme Court. Most important, the fence is reversible. The lives taken by terror are irreversible. By helping take terrorism out of the equation, the fence contributes to the prospect of a return to negotiations and the realization of the road map’s vision of peace.
I call on the Assembly to acknowledge this truth and to reject the continued Palestinian effort to have delegations address Israel’s response to terrorism, instead of addressing the terrorism itself.
Ultimately, we need real contact and dialogue, based on mutual respect for the humanity of the other if we are to resolve the conflict in the Middle East. The Government of Israel is ready for such contact. We are ready to talk to any leadership — from Syria, Lebanon or the Palestinians — that comes to the table without terror and with the genuine intention of finding mutually acceptable solutions to our differences.
Tomorrow, Yom Kippur, is a day of prayer, fasting and soul-searching for the Jews. In Beersheva, in a synagogue named after my father, I will be praying together with those who have recently buried their murdered children. I will pray that our collective aspiration for life and freedom will prevail over the terrorists and those who sponsor them. I will pray that God will deliver peace on earth, for all humanity. And I will pray that mankind can unite — through the United Nations — to help make this dream become a reality.
And I would like to say in Hebrew, Happy New Year.
The President (spoke in French) : I now call on His Excellency Mr. Petros Molyviatis, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Greece.
Mr. Molyviatis (Greece): ...
The horizon over the Middle East remains dark. The Greek Government is convinced that only the implementation of the road map can lead to the two-State solution: Israel and Palestine coexisting in peace and security. Half measures can only complicate matters and add new sources of tension. Essential progress in the peace process cannot be achieved without a comprehensive cessation of all kinds of violence, especially violence directed against civilians. Terrorism cannot be a weapon to achieve political goals, and terrorist attacks cannot be justified by any means.
The President (spoke in French ): I now call on His Excellency Mr. Franco Frattini, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Italy.
Mr. Frattini (Italy): ...
We are waging a merciless fight against terrorism. Let us at the same time address its roots. That means putting an end to situations that terrorists exploit; giving the world’s excluded hope again; restoring dignity to those peoples deprived of it; and ensuring that dialogue and cooperation among civilizations, cultures and religions prevail, rather than conflict and intolerance.
Global threats require a strong, and always collective, response. The threat of proliferation, which could merge with that of terrorism, calls for resolute and sustained action. The non-proliferation regime has been seriously undermined by the combined action of certain States and non-State actors. That is why strengthening existing instruments is today essential. The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) Review Conference in 2005 will be an opportunity to do so.
A safer and freer world is, first, a more just world. That is why we must act relentlessly to resolve conflicts. I am, of course, thinking, first and foremost, of the Middle East, where — in the wake of the hopes raised by Madrid, Oslo, Camp David and Taba — the absence of any prospect is today breeding despair, extremism and violence of every kind. This central crisis can be resolved only through a negotiated settlement based on international law, enabling all the peoples — I repeat, all the peoples — of the region to live in dignity and security.
The road map, which the parties have accepted and which the Security Council has endorsed, must be implemented in full and in good faith. France hopes that the withdrawal from Gaza is a first step in that direction. It will make every effort to get the peace process under way again. It will continue to act vis-à-vis all the leaders — the elected and legitimate leaders — of that region.
Let us make no mistake: building peace in the Middle East is a historic responsibility for our generation. Europe — the European Union — in partnership with the United States, Russia and the United Nations, is determined to play a political role in order to stimulate this process.
The Acting President : I now call on His Excellency Mr. M. Morshed Khan, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Bangladesh.
Mr. Khan (Bangladesh): ...
A core issue in the Middle East remains the unresolved problem of Palestine. The Palestinians have suffered far too much for far too long, and the wall now only exacerbates that suffering. Perhaps there can be a two-State solution on the basis of the pre-1967 borders, with an independent Palestine that has East Jerusalem as its capital. Until that is achieved, there must be respect for international law, and all peoples in the region must be able to live in peace and security, free from violence, destruction and acts of terror.
The meeting rose at 1.45 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.