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        General Assembly
19 September 2002

Official Records
General Assembly
Fifty-seventh session
16th plenary meeting
Thursday, 19 September 2002, 10 a.m.
New York

President:Mr. Kavan ......................................................................... (Czech Republic)

The meeting was called to order at 10.10 a.m.

Agenda item 9 (continued)

General debate

Address by Mr. Laisenia Qarase, Prime Minister of Fiji

The President: The Assembly will now hear an address by His Excellency The Honourable Laisenia Qarase, Prime Minister of the Republic of Fiji.

The Honourable Laisenia Qarase, Prime Minister of the Republic of Fiji, was escorted to the rostrum.

Mr. Qarase (Fiji): ...


I am pleased to assure the Assembly that the Pacific Island Forum and the Africa, Caribbean and Pacific Group strongly support our Secretary-General’s new emphasis on preventive diplomacy. Conflict prevention and peace-building should continue to be the central considerations in involvement by the United Nations in ongoing efforts to deal with conflict and crisis situations in the Middle East and elsewhere.

We congratulate the United Nations on the success of its various peacekeeping operations. Fiji’s participation in the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), after more than 24 years, will conclude in December this year. It has been a great honour for us to serve the international cause of bringing peace and order to that part of the Middle East.

Fiji reaffirms its willingness to continue its participation in United Nations and international peacekeeping operations. All this has cost us dearly in lost lives, but it is a price we are willing to pay for international peace and security.


The President : I give the floor to His Excellency The Honourable James Francis Wapakhabulo, Third Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Uganda.

Mr. Wapakhabulo (Uganda): ...


Uganda supports the right of the Palestinian people to a homeland, and we appeal to the two parties to resume negotiations with a view to finding a just and lasting solution to the Middle East crisis. Uganda supports the establishment of a Palestinian State to exist side by side in peace with the State of Israel.


The President: I now give the floor to Her Excellency Ms. Anna Lindh, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Sweden.

Ms. Lindh (Sweden): ...


Ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict requires global cooperation. There is an urgent need to put an end to the occupation and to the spiral of terrorist acts, violence and confrontation that have caused so much suffering and bloodshed in the Middle East.

I deeply regret the two recent terrorist attacks in Israel. I strongly urge both parties not to let the peace process be held hostage by extremists.

The future of the region depends on a peaceful, sustainable and just solution being reached, based on international law and the relevant United Nations resolutions. One way to achieve this is presented in the road map recently adopted by the European Union, building on the proposal from the Arab League meeting in Beirut. The road map includes the holding of elections in the Palestinian territories in January 2003, aiming at the establishment of a peaceful and democratic Palestinian State in 2005. The rights of Israel and Palestine to security and statehood cannot be secured by military means. They can be secured only by negotiation.


The Acting President: I now give the floor to His Excellency Mr. Hidipo Hamutenya, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Namibia.

Mr. Hamutenya (Namibia): ...


Namibia is deeply concerned about the constantly escalating violence in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The continuous wanton destruction of Palestinian towns, the demolition of homes and institutions and, above all, the unabating loss of life are all manifestations of the tragic plight of the Palestinian people. While rejecting all acts of violence against innocent civilians, we recognize the urgent need for the international community to address the root cause of violence, namely, the continued occupation of Palestinian territory by Israeli troops.

It is imperative for the international community to act decisively and with a renewed sense of urgency to stop the ongoing carnage and destruction in the Middle East. We support the immediate establishment of an independent Palestinian State, existing side by side with Israel in peace and mutual security.


The Acting President : I now give the floor to His Excellency Mr. Habib Ben Yahia, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Tunisia.

Mr. Ben Yahia (Tunisia) ( spoke in Arabic ): ...

The international community must now play a prominent role in prevailing upon Israel to halt its aggression against the Palestinian people, withdraw from the occupied territories and abide by international law on the basis of Security Council resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973) and other relevant resolutions, as well as on the basis of the principle of “land for peace”.

The Palestinian people need the unflagging support of the international community so that it can recover its legitimate rights, primarily its right to create a State with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital. Israel’s policy of assassinating Palestinian leaders, of maintaining a blockade against the legitimate President Yasser Arafat, of starving civilians, and of massacring people and expelling them from their land in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention only worsens this situation and fans resentment and a desire for revenge.

The international community must redouble its efforts to bring about a return to the negotiating table in order to give real meaning to the vision of two States, Palestine and Israel, living side by side within secure recognized borders, as advocated by President Bush in his speech made in June 2002, and on the basis of the comprehensive approach advocated by the Arab plan adopted at the recent Arab Summit in Beirut.

Tunisia has always worked for peace in the Middle East. We have taken part in the multilateral negotiations and today are ready to continue our constructive role for the resumption of talks and the establishment of a just, comprehensive and lasting peace that will guarantee the liberation of Arab territories still occupied by Israel since 1967, including the Syrian Golan and the remainder of the Lebanese territory still under Israeli occupation.

Furthermore, lasting peace and stability for all the peoples of the Middle East requires continued international efforts to make progress on the question of Iraq through peaceful means and by implementing relevant Security Council resolutions.


The President : I now call on His Excellency Mr. Naji Sabri, the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Iraq.

Mr. Sabri (Iraq): ...


I was instructed by the President of the Republic of Iraq, His Excellency Mr. Saddam Hussein, to convey to you, in the allotted time, excerpts of a letter he has addressed to the General Assembly, in which His Excellency presents Iraq’s position on the latest developments in the relationship between Iraq and the Security Council.

Following are excerpts from the letter:


“You may notice how the policy of the Zionist entity, which has usurped Palestine and other Arab territories since 1948, and afterwards, has now become as one with the policies and capabilities of the United States.

“The United States Administration has been making up problems with Iraq in order to derail the application of paragraph 14 of resolution 687 (1991) and to prevent the Security Council from lifting the blockade imposed on Iraq. The reason lies in the fact that the counter-obligations under relevant resolutions of the Security Council, including resolution 687 (1991) of 3 April 1991, contain a clear paragraph demanding that the Middle East be made a zone free from weapons of mass destruction. Thus the American Administration does not want to embarrass the Zionist entity or deprive it of the nuclear, chemical and biological weapons it actually possesses. It is also because the United States Administration is aware that Iraq has indeed honoured all its obligations and is demanding, along with other Arab countries, that paragraph 14 be applied to the Zionist entity.


The meeting rose at 1.25 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-178. Corrections will be issued after the end of the session in a consolidated corrigendum.

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