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Source: General Assembly
21 September 2006


General Assembly
GA/10504

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Sixty-first General Assembly
Plenary
12th & 13th Meetings (AM & PM)

AFGHANISTAN’S PRESIDENT, IN GENERAL DEBATE, CALLS FOR MORE DECISIVE INTERNATIONAL

ACTION TO PREVENT TERRORISTS FROM DERAILING POST-WAR TRANSITION

Other Leaders Concerned about ‘Hegemony’, Small Arms Proliferation, Nuclear Issues


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Background

The General Assembly met this morning to continue the high-level segment of the general debate of its sixty-first session.  (For background, see Press Release GA/10500 of 19 September.)

Statements

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MARTIN TORRIJOS ESPINO, President of Panama, ...

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It was important to resolve the crisis in the Middle East, so that Jews and Muslims could coexist in peace, as they did in Panama and many other parts of the world.  Using arms could help some people gain some short-term objectives, but that poisoned the atmosphere.  It was obvious that the conflict required Israel’s unconditional withdrawal from the occupied territories, the prompt constitution of the State of Palestine and the recognition of Israel’s right to exist. 

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MICHELLE BACHELET, President of Chile, ...

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She deplored the serious crisis in the Middle East and strongly condemned any armed action targeting innocent civilians.  Self-defence should only be exercised within the framework of proportionality and containment.  The delay in the Security Council’s call for a ceasefire in Lebanon was inconsistent with the letter and spirit of the Charter.  She urged the full implementation of Council resolution 1701 (2006), calling on the international community to cooperate in a full cessation of hostilities in the Middle East, to restore Lebanon’s sovereignty over its territory and to guarantee Israel’s security.

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MAUMOON ABDUL GAYOOM, President of Maldives, ...

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Turning to the situation in the Middle East, he described the conflict in Lebanon as rooted in the Palestinian issue, which needed to be resolved in accordance with international law and relevant Security Council resolutions.  The instability and violence in Afghanistan and Iraq were also of great concern.  He was dismayed by the vilification of Islam and Muslims, and said that violence and killing were abhorrent to Islam.  Dialogue among civilizations and mutual respect among diverse peoples were needed to address today’s challenges.

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ROMANO PRODI, Prime Minister of Italy, ...

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He said that the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, particularly nuclear weapons must be seen in the context of the negotiations under way with Iran.  The general non-proliferation system should be consolidated.  In the Middle East, there would be no peace until the Palestinian question had been resolved with an independent, sovereign and contiguous Palestinian state next to the State of Israel, both within secure and internationally-recognized borders.  In Darfur, the world could not stand by and watch the situation unfold.  The United Nations must gradually assume responsibility there.  The situation in the Horn of Africa was also a source of concern.

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ESTEBAN LAZO HERNANDEZ, Vice-President of Cuba, ...

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Turning to particular regional situations, he said that the Movement had reaffirmed at its summit the right of the Palestinian people to their own State, and had condemned Israel’s military actions in Gaza and Lebanon.  ...

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Sheikh TAMIM BIN HAMAD BIN KHALIFA AL-THANI, Heir Apparent of Qatar, ...

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Pointing to the conflict in Lebanon, he called Israel’s military actions “disproportionate”, and the displacement of Lebanon’s population a “full-scale war crime”.  The Arab-Israeli conflict and the Palestinian question should be accorded top priority.  In addition, Israel must be obliged to implement United Nations resolutions.  In particular, it must withdraw from the Territories it occupied in 1967, including the Syrian Golan Heights and the Lebanese Sheba Farms. 

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Sheikh ABDULLAH BIN ZAYED AL NAHYAN, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the United Arab Emirates, ...

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The United Arab Emirates was deeply concerned by the continued inability of the international community to solve the Palestinian question and establish peace in the Middle East, he said.  Inaction in that regard had encouraged Israel to continue its occupation of Palestinian Territories, Sheba Farms and the Syrian Golan.  He, therefore, urged the United Nations to respond to the Arab League’s recent call for the Organization to play an effective role in reviving the Middle East peace process and resuming direct negotiations on all tracks.

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ROBERT GABRIEL MUGABE, President of Zimbabwe, ...

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He then condemned the disproportionate use of force by Israel in Gaza and Lebanon, and the detention of elected Palestinian parliamentarians and ministers.  The United Nations Security Council and the Middle East Quartet were obliged to ensure that the brokered ceasefire would hold. 

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LEONEL FERNANDEZ REYNA, President of the Dominican Republic, ...

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Concerning the Middle East, he said that recent events had alarmed his nation.  The conflict between Israel and its neighbours could only be resolved through dialogue and the efforts of the United Nations.  ...

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HIFIKEPUNYE POHAMBA, President of Namibia, ...

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The rights to self-determination and independence for the people of Western Sahara needed to be upheld and also for the people of Palestine.  He additionally called for the international community to provide humanitarian assistance to the people of Lebanon.  ...

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ABDULLAH AHMAD BADAWI, Prime Minister of Malaysia, ...

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Any dialogue would fail if it was already predetermined that certain States were “rogue” or that certain countries were “evil”, he said, adding that such name-calling provided an excuse not to listen, let alone engage in serious negotiations to find amicable solutions to serious problems.  A blatant example of a refusal even to grant a hearing had been the early decision by many important countries not to recognize or do business with Hamas after that group’s assumption of power in the Occupied Palestinian Territory through a properly conducted and democratic election.  External assistance had been stopped and funds blocked.  As a result, millions of Palestinians had suffered for months without pay or food.  “I hope that all sanctions against Palestine will soon be a matter of the past when President [Mahmoud] Abbas succeeds in putting together a coalition Government embracing all the parties in Palestine,” he said.

He said that the suppression of the Palestinian people, which was being allowed to fester, the invasion of Afghanistan, the conquest of Iraq and, most recently, the unchecked destruction of Lebanon had all been carried out in the name of the war against terrorism.  Israel’s actions were being supported, either openly or tacitly, in the supposed defence of the Judeo-Christian tradition against the spread of radical militant Islam.  That trend apparently legitimized all acts committed in the name of the war on terror, no matter how brutal.  “Even Western commentators have conceded that Israel’s latest assault against Lebanon has helped make what may once have been extremist opinions mainstream”, he said, noting that the Muslim world certainly saw that complicity as an attempt to humiliate all Islamic countries and societies.

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MOHAMMAD SABAH AL SALEM AL SABAH, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Kuwait, ...

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Expressing support for a diplomatic resolution of the Iranian nuclear development issue, he urged Iran to continue its cooperation with IAEA.  The Middle East must be free of all weapons of mass destruction, including Israel, which must accede to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.  Kuwait condemned the creation, through the conflict in Lebanon, of 1 million refugees and welcomed steps to implement resolution 1701 (2006).  Kuwait had announced the donation of $324 million for Lebanon’s reconstruction efforts.  Regarding the Palestinian and related questions, Kuwait reiterated its call for both an Israeli withdrawal from the occupied Syrian Golan and the implementation of other relevant Security Council resolutions.  The Arab Peace Initiative was the only strategic option to achieving permanent peace in the region.

TZIPI LIVNI, Vice Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Israel, describing the current conflict in the world as one between ideas, said her country sat on the frontlines of that conflict, guided by the principle that Israel, with Jerusalem at its heart, was the national homeland of the Jewish people, and by democratic governance.

She said the values of democratic nations faced no greater threat than that posed by Iran, which armed, financed and directed Hizbollah, the group that had kidnapped Israeli soldiers and targeted its cities.  Israel called for the full implementation of resolution 1701 (2006) and for the immediate and safe release of Israeli hostages.

Israel’s vision of itself and the Palestinian people was one of two States, living side by side in peace and security, she said.  The Palestinian leadership should not exploit the refugee issue, and both States should accept that their rights would be realized through the establishment of their own homeland, not the homeland of others.  The Palestinian State was also required, according to the Road Map, to renounce terrorism, recognize Israel’s right to exist and accept Israeli-Palestinian agreements.  Agreement on a common boundary was also required.

Warning that the Palestinian Authority was dominated by a terrorist organization, she said the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was the consequence and not the cause of an ideology of intolerance and hatred.  The Road Map was designed to enable moderation and the world must not hesitate to endorse its standards.  The differences between the parties to the dispute could only be resolved at a bilateral negotiating table.

KAREL DE GUCHT, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Belgium, ...

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... It called also for a resumption of the Israeli-Palestinian dialogue and urged Iran to comply with resolution 1696 (2006), because the world could not afford a major new crisis in the Middle East.

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ABUBAKR AL-QIRBI, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Yemen, ...

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He said the situation in Lebanon, sparked by the aggression of the Israeli war machine and witnessed by the entire world, had caused countless deaths, including the killing of women and children, contrary to international law and the Geneva Conventions.  The international community should hold that war machine accountable for its atrocities and massacres -– particularly “Qana II” -– and demand that Israel withdraw from all Arab territories, particularly in Palestine.  The international community must also press the Security Council to act equitably and fairly to end the Arab-Israeli conflict, otherwise the entire international community would bear the responsibility for the continuing violence and death.

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For information media • not an official record

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