Department of Public Information · News Coverage Service ·
17 September 2002
Fifty-seventh General Assembly
PERVASIVE THREATS TO PEACE, DEVELOPMENT HIGHLIGHTED BY SPEAKERS
AS ASSEMBLY CONTINUES GENERAL DEBATE
JOHN BRICEÑO, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Natural Resources, the Environment, Trade and Industry of
Noting that conflict hindered development, he expressed his country’s grave concern over the deterioration of relations in the Middle East, especially with respect to the Palestinian people. The solution to that problem resided in Security Council resolution 1379 (2002) which endorsed the vision of two States -– Israel and Palestine -– living side by side in peace. He encouraged efforts to peacefully resolve the Western Sahara question.
CHEIKH TIDIANE GADIO, Minister for Foreign Affairs of
In relation to other areas of conflict, he noted that the situation in the Middle East had worsened. Israel’s policy of State-sponsored violence had led to an upsurge in Palestinian terrorist activity. There had been an erosion of trust between Palestinians and Israelis, which needed to be restored as quickly as possible through a frank and constructive dialogue leading to a just and durable peace.
FAROUK KADDOUMI, observer of Palestine, began by recalling the events leading up to the present stage in Israeli-Palestinian relations. The stubbornness of Israel emphasized its determination to continue its occupation of Palestinian territories. Palestinian agricultural production had decreased by 80 per cent. Unemployment had reached 65 per cent and a large portion of the population was living in poverty. Israel had destroyed institutions, ports, homes and businesses in the occupied territories. The taxes Israel collected, which should have been given to the Palestinian Authority, had been kept by the Israelis. The occupied territories had been divided into separate cantons. Trade was halted and measures had been taken to stop the free movement of people and goods. In addition, Israel had imposed house arrest on President Arafat.
The United States, he noted, was a great Power and shouldered a great responsibility in the maintenance of international peace and security as well as regional peace in the Middle East. Resorting to force to solve problems did not help reinforce the purposes and aims of the United Nations. It only inspired fear and doubt among Member States. The people of the world were hoping that the United States would play a positive and neutral role in international relations and be a source of technical and economic assistance.
Why was the United States threatening the use of force against Iraq? Why did the United States not talk about eliminating the weapons of mass destruction possessed by Israel, which threatened Arab countries of the region? In its fight against terrorism, he was surprised that the United States had closed its eyes to the State terrorism practised by the Sharon Government.
The Palestinians could not agree to any temporary borders, he said: they wanted a lasting settlement. He appreciated the role the Quartet was playing in the peace process. The Israeli forces must be called on to revise their strategy, put an end to the massacres and attacks on citizens and refrain from using collective economic sanctions. Israel must also withdraw from the occupied territories and lift its siege against the Palestinians. There must be international presence to protect the lives of the Palestinian people.
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