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


Fifty-eighth General Assembly
Plenary
7th Meeting (AM)
GA/10156
23 September 2003
OPENING ANNUAL GENERAL DEBATE, GENERAL ASSEMBLY HEARS CALL FOR RADICAL CHANGE TO ADDRESS THREATS OF TERRORISM, WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION


Secretary-General Announces Plans for High-Level Panel
To Focus on Threats to Peace, Security, Other Global Challenges


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Background

This morning the General Assembly is expected to hear statements by the General Assembly President, Secretary-General and several heads of State and government.

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Statements

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GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States, ...

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The success of a free Iraq, he said, would be noted by millions, who would see that freedom, equality and material progress were possible at the heart of the Middle East, while the region’s leaders would face clear evidence that free institutions and open societies were the only path to long-term national success and dignity.  The Palestinian people should also take the Iraqi example to heart.

While the Palestinian people deserved their own State, they had been betrayed by their leaders, who clung to power by feeding old hatreds and destroying the good work of others, he said.  All parties in the Middle East needed to meet their responsibilities, and Israel must work to create the conditions necessary for the emergence of a peaceful Palestinian State.  Arab nations must cut off funding and other support for terrorist organizations, and the United States must work with every nation in the region that acted for peace.

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JACQUES CHIRAC, President of France, ...

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In the Middle East, only firm political resolve to apply on both sides the law as stipulated by the United Nations would pave the way to a just and lasting solution, he said.  The international community must be resolutely involved in implementing the Road Map; an international conference should be organized as soon as possible.

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THABO MBEKI, President of South Africa, ...

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The world was confronted by global challenges that the United Nations could not solve, he said, noting that the disempowered would continue to look to the Organization because they understood they were too weak to advance their interests outside the collective voice of the United Nations.  The Global poverty and underdevelopment were the principal problems facing the United Nations and while billions across the globe expected the General Assembly to address that challenge in a meaningful manner, the world’s masses expected that statements made in the Assembly would indicate a serious commitment to implement what was said.  The poor expected an end to violence and war everywhere.  They wanted an end to the killing that was taking too many Israeli and Palestinian lives; they wanted Africans to stop killing one another, which continued to convey a message of their inability to live in peace; they also desired the realization of the democratic objective that the people shall govern and they were seriously committed to the eradication of poverty and the provision of a better life for all.

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KING MOHAMMED VI of Morocco, ...

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He said that despite the efforts made to settle the Palestinian question, the logic of violence and intransigence continued to hamper the restoration of peace.  The suffering, deprivation and injustice endured by the brotherly Palestinian people on a daily basis, called for a stronger commitment on the part of the international community to achieve gradual and irreversible implementation of the Road Map, he said.

Calling for concerted international action, he said it should enable the brotherly Iraqi people to live in security, stability and freedom, and to rebuild their country, while ensuring that their choices were fully respected, and that the sovereignty, national unity and territorial integrity of their State was preserved.  Noting that the Palestinian and Iraq questions had particularly affected the Mediterranean subregion, he said a Euro-Mediterranean dialogue was a key element for stability, security and development in the area.

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SILVIO BERLUSCONI, President of Italy, speaking on behalf of the European Union, ...

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The safeguarding of international peace and security also required a strong commitment to addressing regional conflicts, he added.  Thus, deeply concerned by the deterioration of relations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, the European Union reiterated its strong support for the Road Map and urged both parties to act urgently to implement the commitments provided for by the Road Map.

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