Question of Palestine home
3 October 1995
th plenary meeting
Tuesday, 3 October 1995, 3 p.m.
: Mr. Freitas do Amaral ................................................................. (Portugal)
In the absence of the President, Mr. Peerthum (Mauritius), Vice-President, took the Chair.
The meeting was called to order at 3.10 p.m.
Agenda item 9
The Acting President
: I now call upon the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Arab Republic of Egypt, His Excellency Mr. Amre Moussa.
interpretation from Arabic
The founding of the United Nations was contemporaneous with the beginning, 50 years ago, of a sad chapter in the evolution of the question of Palestine that triggered the Arab-Israeli conflict, with all the wars and tragedies that conflict entailed. Now, half a century later, we witness the beginnings of a comprehensive settlement to this question and the progress towards an Arab-Israeli peace. The United Nations has left its imprint on all aspects of the question of Palestine and the Arab-Israeli conflict. Some of its earlier resolutions sparked off the Arab-Israeli wars. Some others have laid the foundations for a peaceful settlement, such as Security Council resolution
, and resolution
on Lebanon, the resolutions on Al-Quds, the refugees and the Palestinian people's right to self-determination.
A few days ago, in Washington, we witnessed the signing of the transitional-phase agreement by the Palestinian President, Yasser Arafat, and the Israeli Prime Minister, Yitzhak Rabin. This is a historic achievement towards resolving the Palestinian problem, as it initiates the second phase of the agreement concluded between the two parties and expands Palestinian authority to the West Bank. This is a sound move that brings Palestine closer to having a full-fledged Government with its legislative, executive and judiciary branches within a preliminary regional framework.
Although the agreement is transitional and represents a delicate balance of commitments between the emerging entity and Israel, it is undoubtedly a major positive step at the strategic level. In practical terms, paves the way for the partition of the land of Palestine between Israel and the Palestinian entity which would reach completion only through the establishment of the Palestinian State on all the territories of Gaza and the West Bank. It is important to note here that the Palestinian parliament, which will be elected within a few months, will represent also the Palestinian people in Al-Quds.
Early on, Egypt had opted for the role of pioneer in the long march towards peace in the Middle East. Camp David and Taba, which were two outstanding milestones on this long march, have now been joined by a host of other landmarks along the road to peace. However, we are fully aware of the obstacles and pitfalls that are still in the way of a comprehensive peace, both on the Syrian and the Lebanese tracks, which must be reactivated urgently indeed, and on the Palestinian track, where everything depends on the honest and immediate implementation of the agreement and serious preparations for the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations on the final status. Egypt looks forward to a day in the near future when its vision of a new Middle East would materialize.
From this very rostrum, at the forty-ninth session of the General Assembly, on behalf of Egypt, I called upon the States and peoples of the Middle East to give thought to the shape of our relations in the post-settlement period. I invited them to join us in formulating the makings and foundations of new relations between the countries of the region that would rest squarely on three pillars: political settlement, economic and social development and regional security and arms control.
Our views in all this proceed from the conviction that peace will never become permanent and will never take root without a balanced and constructive interaction that would serve the common interests of all parties. I have touched upon the recent developments in the area of political settlement. I should like to add here that the framework of this settlement is still fragile and that it needs a great deal of prudence and caution. What is needed above all else in this respect is that all parties should abstain from taking any unilateral action that might infringe the rights of the other parties or pre-empt the final outcome of the negotiations.
The Economic Summit meeting for the Middle East and North Africa, held in Casablanca in October 1994, was an important step for regional economic cooperation. The participants in that meeting may recall Egypt's insistence that genuine peace is peace that prevails amongst peoples and that genuine peace is that which serves as a foundation for economic cooperation. As we move closer to the Amman summit, scheduled to be held towards the end of October 1995, we reiterate that belief and call for real progress on the different tracks of the peace process in order to provide the necessary conditions for promoting cooperation in the region.
In this connection, Egypt believes that it is the issues of arms control and regional security that will determine the form and extent of cooperation amongst the countries of the region in the future. Egypt views security, as the principal mainstay of the edifice of peace in the Middle East, and believes that it should rest squarely on the firm foundation of equal rights and obligations for all parties in the region with regard to disarmament, so that equal security may be achieved at the minimum level of armament and guaranteed through the defining of common rights and interests and not through the acquisition of weapons of mass destruction.
Proceeding from this, we call for initiating concrete steps towards:
- Israel's accession to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) and subjecting its nuclear facilities to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) international regime of safeguards and inspection.
- Engaging in discussion aimed at establishing a zone free of weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East.
- Reviewing the relevant international agreements on disarmament, by the countries of the region, with a view to harmonizing their positions and commitments regarding those agreements.
I seize this opportunity to call upon the permanent Members of the Security Council which sponsored the resolution relating to the Middle East in the Review and Extension Conference of the States Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons to take concrete steps that would ensure the accession to the Treaty by all States of the region and to initiate the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East in accordance with the Egyptian initiative which has enjoyed the consensus of all the parties concerned for more than 15 years now.
Speaking of the Middle East, I shall now address the situation in the countries neighbouring Egypt. I shall begin by extending a brotherly greeting to the brotherly people of Sudan and say that only what is right and true will prove to be right and true in the end and that things will inescapably revert to normal in a Sudan that will be free from the politics of terrorism under the guise of religion. The historical ties of friendship that took root over the ages between our two peoples will continue to flow as strongly as the flow of the river Nile through our two countries. Egypt, which does not change its position on such matters, clearly reaffirms its support for the unity and territorial integrity of Sudan within its political borders.
The Acting President:
I now call on the Secretary of the General People's Committee of the People's Bureau for Foreign Liaison and International Cooperation of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, His Excellency Mr. Omar Mustafa Muntasser.
(Libyan Arab Jamahiriya) (
interpretation from Arabic
In the context of any effort to consolidate world peace, serious action must be taken to resolve the problems of the Middle East. It is unacceptable that the Palestinian people should continue to be displaced from their land, while those who stay on that land are brutally treated. The overwhelming majority of the international community, which has continued to support the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people over the past four decades, should take firm action to put an end to the Israeli practices against the Palestinians and the other inhabitants of the occupied Arab territories in the Golan and southern Lebanon. The Israelis must be deterred, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, from their continued defiance of the will of the international community. The incontrovertible truth is that occupation and expansion are the real aim of the Israelis. Their former and present positions and practices indicate that they do not want a just and comprehensive peace. Their joining the so-called peace process is a mere smoke-screen, a mask they hide behind in order to perpetrate further occupation and enhance their superiority.
A just, comprehensive and lasting solution to the problems of the Middle East cannot be achieved by ceding the administration of local affairs in Gaza and Jericho, but rather by the liberation of all occupied Arab territories and the full enforcement of all the rights of the Palestinian people — first and foremost being their return to their homeland, self-determination, and the establishment of their own independent state in Palestine, with Al-Quds as its capital, a state where Arabs and Jews alike would live together. There is no alternative to this solution. The solutions being put forward these days, regardless of all the talk about how desirable their results would be, will not lead to the results aspired to by the Palestinians, simply because those solutions are unrealistic and ignore the facts of history.
The continued existence of nuclear weapons and the increased stockpiling of these and other weapons of mass destruction are among the principal concerns of the international community. When the first review Conference of the States parties to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) was held in the first half of this year, it was hoped that that Conference would lead to satisfactory results. However, what actually happened was that certain nuclear Powers brought to bear unprecedented pressures that made it possible for the NPT to be extended indefinitely. My country declared its opposition to this extension, and we remain convinced that extending the Treaty in that manner would never serve the objective of nuclear-weapon disarmament.
The Acting President:
I now call on the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Qatar, His Excellency Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassem Bin Jabr Al Thani.
Sheikh Al Thani
(interpretation from Arabic):
Inspired by the guidelines established by His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Hamad Al Thani, Qatar has been participating, to the best of its financial and human abilities, in addressing the major issues of the Gulf region and of our Arab and Islamic nation. Qatar, therefore, fully supports the activities of the Gulf Cooperation Council, which are in the interest of the well-being of all our peoples. It is our hope that security and stability will soon reign in our region, for this is an integral part of the security and stability of the Middle East at large. To that end, Qatar is continuing its good offices and its efforts to improve the situation in the Arab world and to consolidate Arab solidarity, which will make it possible for the nation to pursue its special role in the history of civilization.
It is on the basis of these principles that we have welcomed the Middle East peace process. We hope that it will prove successful and that it will at long last bring a just and lasting peace to the region and lead to Israel's complete withdrawal from all the occupied Arab and Palestinian territories, including the Golan Heights, southern Lebanon and, particularly, Al-Quds Al-Sharif. This will make it possible for the Palestinian people to regain its right to establish a State of its own, on its own soil, with Al-Quds as its capital.
Qatar welcomes the expanded autonomy of the Palestinians under the agreement signed last Thursday at Washington between the Palestinians and the Israelis. We hope this agreement will open the doors that lead to peace and stability in the region and will prove to be an important step towards full implementation of the Declaration of Principles signed by the two parties in September 1993.
By the same token, Qatar wishes to voice its deep concern at the fact that talks between Syria and Israel are lagging behind. We hope for substantial progress on that track so that the Israeli occupation of the Syrian Arab Golan may come to an end. We hope also that there will be progress on the Lebanese-Israeli track, so that southern Lebanon may be freed from the Israeli presence under which it has been the victim of much aggression and oppression.
It is our hope that a just and lasting peace will be established on the basis of the Madrid formula and the relevant Security Council resolutions 242 (1967),
and 425 (1978) and on the basis of the land-for-peace formula. We therefore call on the General Assembly to reaffirm all prior resolutions on the question of Palestine and the situation in the Middle East, so that the goal of a just, comprehensive peace can be achieved.
The meeting rose at 6.20 p.m.
This record contains the original text of speeches delivered in English and interpretations of speeches delivered in the other languages. Corrections should be submitted to original speeches only. They should be incorporated in a copy of the record and be sent under the signature of a member of the delegation concerned,
within one month of the date of the meeting
, 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.