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UNITED NATIONS
Department of Public Information · News Coverage Service · New York


SG/SM/5836
4 December 1995

Français

SECRETARY-GENERAL PAYS TRIBUTE TO MEMORY OF ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER YITZHAK RABIN

His Tragic Death Has Demonstrated Yet Again the Extent To Which a Man of Peace Becomes
a Target for Every Kind of Fanaticism, He Says

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Following is the text of the tribute, translated from the French, to be paid by Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali, in Yamoussoukro on 5 December 1995, to the memory of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin:

In honouring Yitzhak Rabin in 1993, the international panel, meeting in UNESCO, prophetically bore witness to the meaning -- in every sense of the word -- of the Peace Prize.

For the intent of the Houphouêt-Boigny Peace Prize, awarded that year jointly to Yitzhak Rabin, Shimon Peres and Yasser Arafat, was to crown the efforts made by those three men to lead their peoples onto the path of recognition and reconciliation.

The tragic death of the Israeli Prime Minister has demonstrated yet again how dangerous that road is, and the extent to which a man of peace immediately becomes a target for every kind of fanaticism and for all extremists.

Thus, we are here today to honour his memory. But you will understand if I wish to associate with it also the memory of President Anwar Sadat.

The tragic coincidence of the fate of these two sons of Abraham is a sign that it is our duty to recognize. It contains a message which we must be able to read. It carries a lesson which must instruct us and guide us.

Like Moses, neither one of them was able to reach the promised land. But, like him, they were able to be the shepherds of their peoples. Like him, they opened the way to the future.

Eighteen years ago, it was my privilege to accompany President Sadat to Jerusalem and to see the former enemies exchange words of peace.

Two years ago, the Israelis and the Palestinians reached an agreement. And there again I witnessed the handshake which set the seal on that act of peace. And yet, President Sadat was unable to see the advent of the peace he had sought to build. And Yitzhak Rabin, too, will not see the completion of the peace he built.

The courage and the greatness of those who make history lie in knowing that they are only laying the first stone of an edifice which will be built by others.

Just as President Hosni Mubarak was able to pursue President Sadat's work of peace, I am convinced that Shimon Peres will be able to bring to its conclusion the peace process initiated by Yitzhak Rabin.

There are moments in history at which the career of a man is identified with the fate of a nation. There are moments in history which transfigure the innermost nature of a human being. So it was in the case of Yitzhak Rabin.

Hence the ennobling mission assigned to succeeding generations by the founding fathers of the Charter of the United Nations, a mission which it is our duty to pursue together.


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