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22nd plenary meeting
Friday, 23 September 2005, 10 a.m.
The meeting was called to order at 10.10 a.m.
Agenda item 9 (continued)
The President : I now give the floor to His Excellency Mr. Ouch Borith, Secretary of State of the Kingdom of Cambodia.
Mr. Ouch (Cambodia): ...
We also welcome the recent positive developments in the Middle East and continue to encourage the implementation of the road map and the relevant Security Council resolutions. After all the years of war and conflict, we reiterate our call on both sides to continue taking steps towards peace, no matter how small they might seem at the time, in order to give the children of Palestine and Israel the opportunity to live in harmony.
The President : I now give the floor to His Excellency Mr. Fayssal Mekdad, chairman of the delegation of the Syrian Arab Republic.
Mr. Mekdad (Syrian Arab Republic) (spoke in Arabic ): ...
The main focus of discussions in the High-level Plenary Meeting was the reform of the United Nations. We believe that the reform process will not be complete if it does not take into consideration the inability of the United Nations, for reasons known to all, to implement its resolutions pertaining to the Arab-Israeli conflict. These reasons are primarily embodied in the generous support and unlimited protection offered by some to Israeli aggression against the Arab states and to Israel’s continuing occupation of the Syrian Golan, the Palestinian territories, and parts of southern Lebanon.
Syria has declared that the withdrawal of settlers and Israeli forces from Gaza is undoubtedly a first step but that this alone is not enough for peace. What is required is the implementation of all United Nations resolutions, the establishment of an independent Palestinian State, the return of the occupied Golan Heights and the return of refugees. There are relentless attempts by the Israeli side in particular and also by those who support it to portray this withdrawal as a great accomplishment that is also painful. However, they are neglecting the fact that the painful Israeli occupation of the Gaza Strip lasted for over 38 years, during which our brothers in the Gaza Strip in particular suffered from the horrors of occupation and its inhumane practices.
Moreover, this abominable occupation persists in the West Bank, including Jerusalem, as well as in the occupied Syrian territories in the Golan. As affirmed by many delegations in their statements this session, the international community must be wary and must demand that the withdrawal from the Gaza Strip be a full withdrawal from land, sea, and air in order for it to be considered a complete withdrawal. Moreover, this withdrawal cannot be accepted as a cover for the continued Israeli occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, nor can it be a cover for the continued existence of settlements and the separation wall in these territories, especially since the General Assembly has expressed its support for the legal opinion of the International Court of Justice on the illegitimate nature of the wall. Israel has rejected the opinion.
In 1981, the Security Council passed resolution 497 (1981), deeming the Israeli decision to annex the Golan null and void. The General Assembly has passed dozens of resolutions condemning all the measures and actions taken by Israel — the occupying Power — to change the nature of the occupied Syrian Golan and its legal status and considering such measures null and void and a blatant violation of international law and the Geneva Conventions. In defiance of resolutions of international legitimacy, Israel has evicted almost half a million Syrians from their land and continues to detain dozens of Syrians, some of whom have been imprisoned for over 30 years. Israel still calls for the construction of more settlements in the occupied Syrian territories. The question is: If Israel claims that withdrawing its settlers is painful and if it is genuine in its desire for peace in the region, then why does its Government continue to build settlements and bring settlers in to the occupied Syrian and Palestinian Arab territories?
Syria has exerted every effort possible to achieve a just and comprehensive peace in the region. It has continued to declare its readiness to resume the peace process unconditionally, keeping in mind that the implementation of resolutions of international legitimacy is not considered a precondition. However, all these efforts have gone to waste because of Israel’s greed and its defiance of international legitimacy.
Therefore, we would like to affirm that peace in the Middle East, to which the international community aspires, cannot be achieved unless Israel abides by the resolutions of international legitimacy, particularly Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973), the principle of land for peace and the Madrid Peace Conference terms of reference, and unless it accepts the initiative that was put forth by the Arab States at the 2002 Beirut summit and reaffirmed at the Tunis and Algiers summits.
The President: I give the floor to His Excellency Mr. Alfred Capelle, chairman of the delegation of the Republic of the Marshall Islands.
Mr. Capelle (Marshall Islands): ...
Concerning the Middle East peace process, we commend the determination and strong resolve of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in his effort to reinvigorate the Middle East peace process by fulfilling Israel’s pledge to withdraw from the Gaza Strip.
The meeting rose at 1.15 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.