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UNITED
NATIONS
A

        General Assembly
A/63/PV.7
24 September 2008

Official Records

General Assembly
Sixty-third session

7th plenary meeting
Wednesday, 24 September 2008, 10 a.m.

New York




President: Mr. Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann .......................................... (Nicaragua)


In the absence of the President, Mr. Beck (Solomon Islands), Vice-President, took the Chair.


The meeting was called to order at 9.10 a.m.


Address by Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa, President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka

The Acting President : The Assembly will now hear an address by the President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka.

Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa, President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, was escorted into the General Assembly Hall.

The Acting President : On behalf of the General Assembly, I have the honour to welcome to the United Nations His Excellency Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa, President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, and to invite him to address the Assembly.

President Rajapaksa ...

/...

Since the promulgation of the Charter of the United Nations to save succeeding generations from the tragedy of war, at least the major threat of intercontinental war seems to have receded. However, the just struggle of the Palestinians for statehood continues.

/...

The President ( spoke in Spanish ): The Assembly will now hear an address by the President of the Republic of Senegal.

Mr. Abdoulaye Wade, President of the Republic of Senegal, was escorted into the General Assembly Hall.

The President (spoke in Spanish ): On behalf of the General Assembly, I have the honour to welcome to the United Nations His Excellency Mr. Abdoulaye Wade, President of the Republic of Senegal, and to invite him to address the Assembly.

President Wade (spoke in French ): ...

/...

We are also continuing our efforts in the Middle East, as we have been called on to give our support to intra-Palestinian dialogue and to dialogue between Israel and Palestine.

/...

The Acting President : The Assembly will now hear an address by the President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.

Mr. Hâmid Karzai, President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, was escorted into the General Assembly Hall.

The Acting President : On behalf of the General Assembly, I have the honour to welcome to the United Nations His Excellency Mr. Hâmid Karzai, President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, and to invite him to address the Assembly.

President Karzai : ...

/...

We deeply sympathize with our Palestinian brothers and sisters and their struggle and suffering. We urge a just and comprehensive settlement that fully realizes the rights of the Palestinian people, including their right to an independent State, living in peace, side by side with the State of Israel.

/...

Address by Mr. Blaise Compaore, President of Burkina Faso

The Acting President : The Assembly will now hear an address by the President of Burkina Faso.

Mr. Blaise Compaore, President of Burkina Faso, was escorted into the General Assembly Hall.

The Acting President : On behalf of the General Assembly, I have the honour to welcome to the United Nations His Excellency Mr. Blaise Compaore, President of Burkina Faso, and to invite him to address the Assembly.

President Compaore (spoke in French ): ...

/...

Burkina Faso also welcomes the progress made in the Middle East. The strengthening of Lebanese sovereignty, the creation of a viable Palestinian State and security guarantees for Israel will contribute to establishing lasting peace in that region.

/...

Address by Mr. Shimon Peres, President of the State of Israel

The Acting President : The Assembly will now hear an address by the President of the State of Israel.

Mr. Shimon Peres, President of the State of Israel, was escorted into the General Assembly Hall.

The Acting President : On behalf of the General Assembly, I have the honour to welcome to the United Nations His Excellency Mr. Shimon Peres, President of the State of Israel, and to invite him to address the Assembly.

President Peres : Over 60 years have passed since the General Assembly voted on the historic resolution that would have put an end to the Arab-Israeli conflict. Resolution 181 (II) called for the establishment of a Jewish State and an Arab State. Its title was: “Plan of Partition with Economic Union”. It envisioned two States for two peoples, fulfilling a distinct national aspiration. The Jewish people adopted the resolution and established the State of Israel. The Arabs rejected it, and this led to war.

What happened in the ensuing years is much different from the resolution’s original intent. While much has changed since then, the ironies of history summon similar circumstances today. Today, again, we are in the middle of the lake. There is no sense going back. Continuing forward will show how near we are to achieving the initial goal.

A year prior to Israel’s declaration of statehood, its first Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion, called me, a young man from a kibbutz, to serve in our national defence. Since then, I have participated in Israel’s dynamic realities: the building of security; the striving for peace. So, I need no books to learn the history, si A year prior to Israel’s declaration of statehood, its first Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion, called me, a young man from a kibbutz, to serve in our national defence. Since then, I have participated in Israel’s dynamic realities: the building of security; the striving for peace. So, I need no books to learn the history, since I witnessed its miraculous unfolding. We went through seven wars. All have paid heavily. Tears still flow down the faces of bereaved mothers. Remembrance days fill the air with silent prayers of widowed families who lost young boys and girls in battle. They are, today, the same age, but lifeless.

Israel turned military victories into peace processes, knowing that the cost of life renders imperfect peace superior to perfect victories.

We have also achieved two peace agreements: the first, with the largest Arab country, Egypt; the second, with the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. All the land, all the water, all the natural resources that fell into our hands through war were completely repatriated after peace was signed.

But for peace, the call in our region is to repair the damaged environment and the wounded land which leads to poverty. If we do not overcome the desert, the thirst, the pollution, they will overcome us. Joint ventures can meet this call. Nature does not carry a national passport.

With the Palestinians, we negotiate full peace. Both parties agreed to building a Palestinian State side by side with Israel, living in peace, security and respect. We tried to conclude those negotiations this year. Apparently, this will take a longer time. I believe it can be accomplished, in spite of this, within the next year.

I know that our Prime Minister is more than ready to conclude an agreement. And knowing President Abbas as well, I am sure he will not miss this opportunity. We agreed to progress in spite of possible changes that may take place in the leadership. Gaps have been narrowed through negotiations, particularly, and hopefully, the territorial ones.

But peace is not just a matter of territorial compromise. Rogue politics rejects peace even when and where territorial disputes have been resolved. In Lebanon, we implemented the resolutions of the United Nations, but Hizbullah paralysed the country and cut the road to peace.

From Gaza, we withdrew completely and dismantled all of our settlements. I know there are a great many complaints about the settlements: in Gaza, we dismantled 30 settlements by order of the Government; Hamas responded with a bloody takeover and turned the Strip into a base for rocket fire.

These militants offer no positive alternative but the agonies of Job. They added kidnapping to bombings, bringing strife to innocent families. From this rostrum, I call for the immediate release of Gilad Shalit, the son of Aviva and Noam, a most peace-loving family. This Assembly should place the release of that person at the top of its priorities. Holding a hostage in Gaza, causes Gaza’s isolation and could cause further deterioration.

At the centre of this violence and fanaticism stands Iran. It presents a danger to the entire world. Its quest for religious hegemony and regional dominance divides the Middle East and holds back chances for peace, including among Arabs, while undermining human rights.

Iranian support for Hizbullah divides Lebanon. Its support for Hamas splits the Palestinians; it postpones the establishment of the Palestinian State. Yesterday, from this very rostrum, the Iranian leader renewed the darkest anti-Semitic libel — the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion” — bringing to life one of the ugliest plots against the Jewish people. Their despicable denial of the Holocaust is a mockery of indisputable evidence and a cynical offence against the survivors of the Holocaust, contrary to the resolutions adopted by this very Assembly.

/...

I know there is a growing concern that peace is far away. My lifelong experience provides me with a different judgement. True, I have seen stagnation, regression and failure in our journey, but today I can identify a road leading in the right direction. In addition to the peace agreements, a series of summits have taken place: Madrid, Oslo, Wye, Camp David, Sharm el-Sheik, Annapolis. In fact, Israelis and Arabs are marching towards peace. After a long internal debate, Israel has chosen to support the two-State solution.

Furthermore, I must say that in Beirut, the Arab League replaced the three “nays” of Khartoum — which were no peace, no negotiation, no recognition — with an ini Furthermore, I must say that in Beirut, the Arab League replaced the three “nays” of Khartoum — which were no peace, no negotiation, no recognition — with an initiative inaugurated by King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud. I call upon the King to further his initiative. It may become an invitation for comprehensive peace — one to transform a battleground into a common ground.

I respectfully invite all leaders to come to discuss peace in Jerusalem — which is holy to all of us — where all of us are praying to the same Lord as offspring of the same Father. Israel shall gladly accept an Arab invitation to designate a venue where a meaningful dialogue may take place at their choice.

/...

Agenda item 8 (continued)

General debate

/...

The President ( spoke in Spanish ): The Assembly will now hear an address by the First Vice-President of the Council of State and Ministers of the Republic of Cuba.

Mr. José Ramón Machado Ventura, First Vice-President of the Council of State and Ministers of the Republic of Cuba, was escorted to the rostrum.

The President (spoke in Spanish ): I have great pleasure in welcoming His Excellency Mr. José Ramón Machado Ventura, First Vice-President of the Council of State and Ministers of the Republic of Cuba, and inviting him to address the Assembly.

Mr. Machado Ventura (Cuba) (spoke in Spanish ): ...

/...

The Movement of Non-Aligned Countries has remained faithful to its founding principles. We support the cause of the Palestinian people and their inalienable right to self-determination in an independent and sovereign State, with its capital in East Jerusalem. ...

/...

The meeting rose at 1.55 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.



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