Follow UNISPAL Twitter RSS
In the absence of the President, Ms. Jarbussynova (Kazakhstan), Vice-President, took the Chair.
The meeting was called to order at 3.05 p.m.
Agenda item 9 (continued)
The Acting President : I give the floor to His Excellency The Honourable Louis Straker, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Trade, Commerce and Consumer Affairs of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.
Mr. Straker (Saint Vincent and the Grenadines): ...
Over the past year, we have watched with growing concern the escalation of tension and violence in the Middle East. We are sensitive to the fact that efforts against international terrorism have made the lessening of tensions and the resolution of the problems in the Middle East all the more difficult. We support the plan for two States — Israel and Palestine — living as neighbours within secure borders that are recognized by each other and the international community. Once again, we call on both sides to abide by the various Security Council resolutions on the dispute. We support the efforts of the Quartet and call upon them to continue their peace-making efforts with urgency. They have our unqualified backing. In the meantime, we urge restraint and the use of common sense in the search for a full solution to the problem. We remind all sides that the greatest use of power is restraint in the use of that power. We urge the world community to make sure that all resolutions of the United Nations are enforced fairly, even-handedly and with equity on all States in conflict in the area and to avoid the appearance of selective, capricious or arbitrary enforcements where it suits the interests of some States.
The Acting President : I give the floor to His Excellency Mr. Ilir Meta, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Albania.
Mr. Meta (Albania): ...
Together with the entire international community, the Albanian Government is following with concern the escalation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Our position is that a solution to that conflict can be found that will bring about a sustainable and lasting peace. Albania welcomes the steps taken by the international community to bring peace and stability to the Middle East and expresses its confidence that both parties to the conflict will join the international community in its efforts to find a permanent solution.
The President: Before I give the floor to the next speaker, let me once again remind members of the agreed time limit of 15 minutes and appeal to them to adhere to it.
I now call on His Excellency Mr. Ioannis Kasoulides, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Cyprus.
Mr. Kasoulides (Cyprus): ...
The situation in the Middle East remains fragile; its repercussions could seriously threaten stability far beyond the region. Cyprus, as a neighbouring State with close relations to the parties involved, supports all initiatives aimed at achieving a just settlement, based on international law and United Nations resolutions, including the efforts of the Quartet. Such a settlement would lead to both peace and stability and would ensure normal relations and security for all the countries of the region. It would also have to include the fulfilment of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people through the creation of their own State and the termination of occupation. Most importantly, it would put an end to violence and reinforce the voices of moderation and cooperation. We reiterate our condemnation of all acts of terror, including suicide bombings. As in the past, we stand ready to assist the parties in any way they feel that we can contribute, including by hosting meetings on the island.
The President: I now give the floor to Her Excellency Ms. Filomena Masaarenhas Tipote, Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Guinea-Bissau.
Ms. Tipote (Guinea-Bissau) (spoke in Portuguese; interpretation from French text furnished by the delegation ): ...
Dialogue is the best instrument for restoring peace and working towards stability and development for humanity. That is why we encourage the actors in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to join in the effort to find acceptable solutions to bring about concrete security and prosperity for both peoples. Strict compliance with Security Council resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973) and 1397 (2002) will be the only response acceptable to the Assembly and the only proof that the parties recognize the incalculable value of our Organization.
The President: I now give the floor to the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Liberia, His Excellency Mr. Monie Captan.
Mr. Captan (Liberia): ...
Recent developments in the Middle East involving Israel and the Palestinians are a cause for grave concern, requiring urgent and concrete actions to halt violence in that region. Both the Israelis and Palestinians have justified claims, which must be resolved in a manner other than the use of excessive violence. Violence cannot produce peace, neither can it be an arbiter of claims.
My Government is in full support of constructive efforts that will help both sides to return to political dialogue in their search for a negotiated settlement. We therefore urge all stakeholders and facilitators of the Middle East peace process to undertake meaningful actions that will reduce the current level of antagonism and violence in the region and to avoid any further aggravation of the situation in the Middle East. As we say in Liberia, “ Let us not use fire to put out a fire.”
The President: Before giving the floor to the next speaker, I should like to express my conviction that even the most important and complex message can be expressed in the agreed 15 minutes; I speak from my own experience. I appeal once again to speakers to conform to the agreed time limit.
I give the floor to His Excellency Mr. Yusuf Hassan Ibraahim, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Somalia.
Mr. Ibraahim (Somalia): ...
We cannot but address the plight of the Palestinian people, who are subjected to daily horrors. The killing of innocent civilians, including women and children, the destruction of houses and the daily humiliations inflicted upon the Palestinian people by Israel must be condemned by the international community.
It is unconscionable for the international community to stand idly by and watch the continuous siege of President Yasser Arafat and the premeditated destruction of the Palestinian Authority. The people of Palestine, who continue to suffer under the Israeli occupation, have an inalienable right to a State of their own and to choose their own leadership and institutions. The systematic violation of the fundamental human rights of the Palestinian people must be brought to an end.
The President : I thank the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Somalia for his respect for the agreed time limit.
I now give the floor to His Excellency Mr. Jan Kohout, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic.
Mr. Kohout (Czech Republic): ...
The Czech Republic is also closely following the developments in the Middle East. Let me recall that our preference in this regard has always been for a peaceful and just settlement of the problem in line with Security Council resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973) and 1403 (2002). The only meaningful option is to continue negotiations with the objective of stabilizing the current situation as a step towards achieving complete and lasting peace in this region. The Czech Republic shares the vision of peaceful co-existence between Israel and an independent and democratic Palestinian State, based on mutual trust and arrangements covering all security concerns. In this regard, we welcome the promising results of the Quartet meeting held earlier this week.
The President: I thank the representative of the Czech Republic for his statement and for adhering to the agreed time limit.
The Assembly will now hear an address by Her Excellency Mrs. Irma Loemban Tobing-Klein, Chairperson of the delegation of Suriname.
Mrs. Loemban Tobing-Klein (Suriname): ...
We welcome Iraq’s recently announced decision to allow the return of United Nations weapon inspectors into the country; we also applaud the recently agreed peace plan that aims to achieve, by 2005, a final settlement towards a peaceful solution to the conflicts in the Middle East.
The President: Before closing this year’s general debate, I would like to make a few concluding remarks.
The urgent need to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is ever more pressing and has represented a major concern for most speakers. The latest Quartet negotiations introduced a plan outlining a three-phase road map to achieve the shared vision of two States — Israel and Palestine — living side by side in peace and security. The recognition of security, political, economic, humanitarian and institutional dimensions is an integral part of the plan. There is no need to stress, of course, that support for the endeavours of the diplomatic Quartet and compliance by both parties are essential for further progress and that much more detailed work has still to be done.
The meeting rose at 7.15 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-154. Corrections will be issued after the end of the session in a consolidated corrigendum.