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Letter dated 10 October 2002 from the Permanent Representative of South Africa to the United Nations addressed to the President of the Security Council (S/2002/1132).
The President (spoke in French): The next speaker on my list is the representative of Morocco. I invite him to take a seat at the Council table and to make his statement.
Mr. Bennouna (Morocco) (spoke in Arabic): ...
In order to ensure the security and stability of the Middle East, the region must be made into a zone free from nuclear weapons and all other weapons of mass destruction. In this regard, I must reiterate the consistent support of the Kingdom of Morocco for declaring the Middle East a zone free from those weapons in order to ensure the security and well-being of all peoples of the region.
The President (spoke in French): ... The next speaker is the representative of Lebanon. I invite him to take a seat at the Council table and to make his statement.
Mr. Diab (Lebanon) (spoke in Arabic):...
The transformation of the Middle East region into a zone free of weapons of mass destruction, in particular of nuclear weapons, and the implementation of the relevant Security Council resolutions, especially those relating to the conflict in the Middle East, without any distinctions between States, is an essential precondition for the establishment of lasting peace and security in the region.
However, what we see in reality is that Israel has consistently defied internationally binding resolutions. It has ignored Security Council resolution 687 (1991), which calls for the establishment of a zone free from weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East. It has refused to implement resolution 487 (1981), which was adopted following the Israeli act of aggression against Iraq in 1981. That resolution called upon Israel to place its nuclear facilities under the comprehensive safeguards regime of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
Israel has continued to stockpile weapons of mass destruction in its arsenal, particularly nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, without any international deterrent. Israel has also ignored, indeed even challenged, the 29 Security Council resolutions adopted on the question of Palestine, the latest of which was resolution 1435 (2002), which demanded that Israel withdraw from the recently reoccupied Palestinian territories and towns.
Israel has resorted to violence, aggression and the perpetration of crimes against humanity in order to implement its expansionist and settlement policies. It continues to reject all the efforts made for the achievement of a comprehensive, just and peaceful settlement of the Middle East question, the latest of which was the Arab peace initiative, which was endorsed by the Beirut Summit. Israel responded to that initiative, which enjoyed unanimous Arab and international support and was welcomed by the Security Council in its resolutions 1397 (2002) and 1435 (2002), by reoccupying the West Bank, killing people and destroying property.
Despite all of this, the Security Council has thus far taken no steps to ensure Israel’s implementation of its resolutions; thus it seems that Israel has impunity in this respect. This situation can only reinforce the view of the Governments and the peoples of the region that double standards do exist in international relations. The application of international law is limited to Iraq while Israel is allowed to remain above the law.
This view that a double standard exists in the implementation of Security Council resolutions has also been expressed by anti-war demonstrators in Europe and in America. An article entitled “Double Standards”, which appeared in the latest issue of The Economist, on 12 October 2002, stated:
(spoke in English)
“It is no longer being asked by Arabs alone. ‘No war against Iraq, free Palestine’ has become the slogan of anti-war demonstrators in Europe and America. The two conflicts have become entwined in the public mind in a way that the West’s politicians cannot ignore. When he sought last week to talk a sceptical Labour Party into supporting action against Iraq, Tony Blair, Britain’s Prime Minister, got his biggest cheer for the bit of his speech that said that United Nations resolutions should apply in Palestine as much as in Iraq.”
Lebanon also looks forward to the creation in the Middle East of a zone free from weapons of mass destruction and to an end to the threats to use force against Iraq, and to respect its sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity.
The President (spoke in French): The next speaker inscribed on my list is the representative of Djibouti. I invite him to take a seat at the Council table and to make his statement.
Mr. Olhaye (Djibouti): ...
My country obviously aligns itself with the Arab perspective of cautioning against the war option at a time when the international community is mobilized to combat terrorism, following the tragedy of September 11 and against the backdrop of the destruction and bloodshed prevailing in the Palestinian territories. These are issues that are crying for urgent attention and lasting solutions. They deserve the concerted action of the international community. No amount of prevarication and neglect will therefore be a substitute for dealing with the core problem in the Middle East: the occupation of Arab lands by Israel.
The President (spoke in French): ... The next speaker inscribed on my list is the Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations. I invite him to take a seat at the Council table and to make his statement.
Mr. Al-Kidwa (Palestine) (spoke in Arabic): At the outset, I have the pleasure to express to you, Mr. President, our happiness at seeing you preside over this meeting. Allow me also to thank the members of the Security Council for giving us this opportunity to participate in a debate of such great importance. In that regard, we would also like to express our gratitude to South Africa for its initiative in calling for the holding of this meeting in its capacity as the current Chair of the Non-Aligned Movement.
Like other Arab and Islamic countries and the overwhelming majority of the world’s peoples and States, Palestine is deeply concerned and harbours serious apprehensions about what we are witnessing with regard to the increasing possibilities of a new outbreak of war in the Middle East region. We are also worried about the growing possibility of the use of military force against Iraq — a sisterly Arab member country of the United Nations — as well as about the possibility of invading and occupying it. Were such things to occur, they would of course lead to further destruction in Iraq and to further suffering for its people. Moreover, such events would also have profound negative consequences on the region as a whole, encourage extremism and heighten hatred towards those who actually undertook such actions. It is very difficult to imagine stability in either Iraq or the region if such events take place. Using military force or going to war is definitely no solution. It must be avoided.
Despite the beating of war drums we have been hearing recently, there have been some positive developments. On the one hand, this question has been referred to the United Nations instead of taking unilateral action; and, on the other hand, Iraq has accepted the unconditional return of inspectors. We believe we should build on these two elements and that the current crisis should be resolved through a rapid return of inspectors to ensure that there are no weapons of mass destruction, thereby reassuring the international community with regard to this important issue.
The Security Council has adopted enough resolutions on this subject. The recent negotiations in Vienna and Iraq’s subsequent position seem to point to the possibility of reaching acceptable arrangements between the United Nations and Iraq with a view to ensuring full compliance with the resolution calling for the destruction of all weapons of mass destruction and verifying that there are no such weapons in Iraq. Nevertheless, if the members of the Council find it necessary to adopt a new resolution, it will be important that such a resolution not contain impossible demands or mandate the use of force in advance. A new Council resolution should serve as a bridge leading to the implementation of its previous resolutions and not as a bridge to war.
Just prior to the last crisis, Arab States had indeed made great headway towards Arab reconciliation with regard to the situation between Iraq and Kuwait. The Beirut Summit was a very important step in that direction. We would like to reiterate our commitment to the spirit of the Summit and to its decisions and resolutions, including with regard to cooperating with the Tripartite Commission to resolve the issues of the return of Kuwaiti property and of Kuwaiti prisoners and third-party citizens being held in Iraq.
It is very difficult for the Arab street to believe that the use of force against Iraq would serve to uphold international law and legitimacy or to ensure respect for the resolutions of the Security Council. It is doubly difficult to believe when all Arabs — and indeed the entire world — have witnessed how Security Council resolutions are violated and rejected and how the provisions of international law are flouted by a single State. That State is, of course, Israel, which is considered by the Council to be the only occupying Power in the world today and which, incidentally, has illegally acquired several weapons of mass destruction. Just a few hours ago, Israeli tanks once again destroyed the homes of civilians in Rafah, killing at least five people and injuring forty. What we need here is for Members to try to regain, even partially, credibility for the Council and for this international Organization.
The President (spoke in French): I thank the observer of Palestine for the kind words addressed to me.
The next speaker on my list is the representative of Belarus. I invite him to take a seat at the Council table and to make his statement.
Mr. Ivanou (Belarus) (spoke in Russian): ...
Belarus seeks political settlements to all disputes on the international agenda. We express hope for an objective consideration of the Iraqi issue and call upon the Security Council to take a balanced decision in the interest of peace and security, not only in the Middle East but on a global scale as well.
The President (spoke in French): The next speaker on my list is the representative of Saudi Arabia. I invite him to take a seat at the Council table and to make his statement.
Mr. Shobokshi (Saudi Arabia) (spoke in Arabic): ...
In addition to the United Nations insistence that Iraq implement all resolutions of international legality, we cannot ignore the contempt that the Israeli Government has shown for such resolutions. The United Nations is not very satisfied with Israel’s implementation of the many resolutions adopted by the Security Council and the General Assembly.
There is no doubt that the United Nations lack of resolve to ensure the implementation of these resolutions of international legality and the international community’s disregard of Israel’s refusal to implement them are among the main reasons for the ongoing tragedy and instability in the Middle East. The statement of one minister of the Israeli Government that all Security Council resolutions should be filed in the dustbin brings home for us the fact that Israel is not committed to honouring resolutions of international legality. According to Israel, such resolutions are not to be implemented and have no inherent procedure for implementation. Israel has flouted all resolutions adopted since 1948 and heeds only those warnings made by powerful and influential countries. This in itself is a challenge to international legality and disregard for the peace and security of the region.
Double standards and Israel’s lack of commitment to the implementation of the resolutions of international legality diminish the Council’s credibility. Indeed, they encourage other countries to flout and disrespect this legality. It cannot be claimed that resolutions not issued under Chapter VII are non-binding; if they are, of what value are they? Security Council resolutions, under whatever chapter they may be adopted, are binding on the international community, particularly since they address issues of international peace and security. They are especially binding on the permanent members of the Security Council, because those countries have participated in drafting and adopting them.
The President (spoke in French): I thank the representative of Saudi Arabia for his kind words addressed to me.
The next speaker on my list is the Permanent Observer of the Organization of the Islamic Conference to the United Nations. I invite him to take a seat at the Council table and to make his statement.
Mr. Lamani (spoke in Arabic): ...
Following that meeting, the OIC Foreign Ministers issued a statement welcoming the decision of Iraq concerning the return of the United Nations inspectors to Iraq, in response to the appeals made by the Secretary-General of the United Nations, by the Secretary General of the League of Arab States, and by Arab, Islamic and other States as a first step towards a comprehensive solution to relations between Iraq and the Security Council. Normalized relations would lead to implementation of all Security Council resolutions, to the lifting of sanctions imposed on Iraq, to respecting its security and sovereignty and to establishing the Middle East as a zone free from weapons of mass destruction.
The President (spoke in French): I thank the Permanent Observer of the Organization of the Islamic Conference for his kind words addressed to me.
The next speaker is the representative of Zimbabwe. I invite him to take a seat at the Council table and to make his statement.
Mr. Jokonya (Zimbabwe): ...
We are also concerned that, whereas there is a rush to have Iraq abide by Security Council resolutions, the same rush is not displayed when it comes to Israel, which has flouted no less than 28 Security Council resolutions. The murdering and maiming of Palestinian people and the destruction of Palestinian homes does not, in our view, seem to concern the Council. Israel, after violating Security Council resolutions with impunity, has been shielded by the same members which today want to wage war on Iraq. It is common knowledge in the Security Council and to one and all that that country has weapons of mass destruction. It, too, must be disarmed. The Security Council should address this double standard in order not to bring the Charter of the United Nations into disrepute.
The President (spoke in French): I thank the representative of Zimbabwe for the kind words he addressed to me.
There are a number of speakers remaining on my list. In view of the lateness of the hour, and with the concurrence of the members of the Council, I intend to suspend the meeting now.
The meeting was suspended 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. The final text will be printed in the Official Records of the Security Council . 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-178.