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President: The Hon. Julian R. Hunte..............................................(Saint Lucia)
The meeting was called to order at 3.05 p.m.
Agenda item 9 (continued)
Address by The Most Honourable Percival James Patterson, Prime Minister and Minister for Defence of Jamaica
The President : The Assembly will now hear an address by the Prime Minister and Minister for Defence for Jamaica.
Mr. Percival James Patterson, Prime Minister and Minister for Defence of Jamaica, was escorted to the rostrum.
The President: I have great pleasure in welcoming His Excellency The Most Honourable Percival James Patterson, Prime Minister and Minister for Defence of Jamaica, and inviting him to address the General Assembly.
Mr. Patterson (Jamaica): ...
It is tragic and painful to witness the continued cycle of violence and carnage and the massive destruction of property in the Middle East. No solution can result from the continued military subjugation of the Palestinians or from violence against the Israelis. A political settlement has to be found to provide security for the Israeli people, to establish an independent State for the Palestinians and to make suitable arrangements for the security of all States in the region.
The President: I have great pleasure in welcoming the Prime Minister of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, His Excellency Mr. Mari Alkatiri. I invite him to address the General Assembly.
Mr. Alkatiri (Timor-Leste) (spoke in Portuguese; English text furnished by the delegation ): ...
I would like to comment on two issues related to the Middle East, beginning with Palestine. We express our deep disappointment that the peace process has regressed and that violence has escalated in that part of the world. We feel encouraged by the presentation of the road map, and hope that it can assist in accelerating the peace process.
We reaffirm our support for the road map and for the right of the people of Palestine to self-determination, independence and the establishment of an independent and sovereign State. We appeal to all the parties in that bloody conflict to cease all forms of violence, to resume dialogue and rigorously to respect the road map as agreed to with the Quartet.
The Acting President (spoke in Russian): I now call on His Excellency Mr. Morshed Khan, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh.
Mr. Khan (Bangladesh): ...
The recent developments in the Middle East are extremely worrying. It is clear that the progress made from Oslo to Madrid and the present is now seriously threatened. The road map that the Palestinian side accepted with great courage has not been seriously accepted or implemented by the other side. Preconditions have been imposed, making peace difficult. The Israeli practices that are well known to the Assembly continue to be applied in occupied Palestine. There are gross and systematic violations of international humanitarian law and fundamental human rights. The vicious and criminal announcement of the intention to expel and even assassinate President Yasser Arafat calls for global condemnation in the strongest possible terms. All of that runs counter to the global demand for the peaceful settlement and establishment of a Palestinian State to live as a good neighbour in peace and security.
Bangladesh reiterates its support for the early establishment of a sovereign, independent State of Palestine in accordance with the relevant United Nations resolutions. We call for a more active role on the part of the United Nations, and we ask the Security Council to assume its responsibilities towards the people of Palestine. We urge the diplomatic Quartet to intensify its efforts to prevent further escalation and to address the threats against President Arafat, a Nobel Peace laureate and the undisputed leader of the Palestinian people. We urge that the peace process be placed back on track. We call for renewed efforts aimed at a comprehensive solution of the Middle East issues within a given time frame.
The Acting President (spoke in Russian): I give the floor to His Excellency Mr. Harmodio Arias, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Panama.
Mr. Arias (Panama) ( spoke in Spanish): ...
It is clear that the moral and technical presence of the United Nations is essential in efforts to eradicate political, racial and religious intolerance, and in support of negotiations for pacification, reunification, self-determination and reconstruction, in order to ensure that the peoples concerned can enjoy the benefits of development.
Having said this, I urge our Organization to find expeditious ways of helping those who are committed to the so-called road map for resolving the conflict between Palestine and Israel to secure the active cooperation of the countries of the region and of the Governments of Israel and the Palestine National Authority, so as to overcome the current scepticism over any imminent possibility of seeing the two peoples living in peace, within secure boundaries, as two sovereign States.
Ensuring that that urgent task is carried out successfully will require the ongoing participation of all of the neighbouring States. They must demonstrate a joint willingness to become guarantors of the stability and security of the Israeli and Palestinian peoples and guardians of strict adherence to the Charter of the United Nations and to Security Council resolutions.
The Acting President (spoke in Russian): I now give the floor to His Excellency Mr. Mustafa Osman Ismail, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of the Sudan.
Mr. Ismail (Sudan) (spoke in Arabic ): ...
The question of Palestine has been a deep concern to the human conscience. For more than five decades, it has been a major threat to international peace and security. We have been firmly convinced that Israel’s maintenance of a huge military presence, its aggression and its killing and suppression of the Palestinian people, will only aggravate a situation that is already deteriorating. The only viable way to achieve peace is to adhere to the relevant resolutions of international legitimacy and international law. The international community, particularly the influential parties in the peace process, are urged to exert pressure on Israel.
The Acting President (spoke in Spanish): I now call on His Excellency Mr. Marwan Muasher, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.
Mr. Muasher (Jordan) (spoke in Arabic): ...
The sad collapse of the Oslo process demonstrated that a revival of the Middle East peace process under the previous terms was no longer a viable option. Peace-making in the region requires a new modus operandi, as all transitional arrangements have failed to establish and build mutual confidence between the two sides and to meet the envisioned goals. Thus, the time has indeed come for a shift in approach. Instead of managing the conflict in a way that has led thus far to a perpetuation of the cycle of violence, our focus should be redirected onto the final objectives of the negotiations. Furthermore, it is no longer useful to concentrate only on security aspects without realizing that the problem is essentially political in nature and not only a question of security.
It was against that backdrop that George W. Bush, President of the United States, launched in June 2002 his vision for peace in the Middle East. On the basis of that initiative, the road map was formulated and announced. Jordan contributed to the development of the road map, which generated a real turnaround in the region’s political landscape. It established a framework of mutual obligations, whose aim is to end the Israeli occupation and to establish an independent Palestinian state on the basis of relevant United Nations resolutions and the Arab peace initiative. The road map set forth a specific three-year time frame for the birth of a Palestinian State. Furthermore, it provided for the creation of a monitoring and assessment mechanism to ensure viable implementation according to specific timelines.
It was on the basis of that vision that the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan welcomed the road map when it was formally announced by the Quartet. At the time, we expressed the hope that that impetus would help to restart the peace process on a solid foundation. However, Jordan also made it clear that the declaration in and of itself would be insufficient to create forward movement towards our objectives. What was additionally required was a genuine commitment on the part of the United States and the international community to implement that vision. True to our expectations, we sensed such a genuine commitment at the two recent Sharm al-Sheikh and Aqaba summits.
Jordan, in the meantime, fully recognizes that recent developments on the ground — especially the collapse of the ceasefire, or hudna, arrangement between the Palestinian groups and Israel — create severe and real risks and threats for the road map. Nonetheless, we should stay the course with a view to implementing the road map and putting an end to the occupation and the tragic killing of civilians on both the Palestinian and Israeli sides. The hard work that we are investing in this exercise is worthwhile given the potential risk of failure and the absence of political opportunity again. Such failure would make for a more dangerous and complex scenario than before and would jeopardize the interests and security of all actors.
On behalf of Jordan, I wish to urge from this world podium all stakeholders — especially the members of the Quartet — to pursue their efforts to ensure scrupulous implementation of the road map, without any modifications and in a way that guarantees by 2005 the establishment of a Palestinian State, with Jerusalem as its capital, and the termination of the Israeli occupation of all Arab territories occupied in 1967. All that would be in keeping with the relevant United Nations resolutions and the Arab peace initiative, which is a key component of the road map and provides a framework for peace — a peace that is acceptable to all peoples of the region and fulfils their long-standing aspirations.
Along the same lines, we urge acceleration in the creation of an effective political and security monitoring mechanism to be operated by the Quartet. That is essential to ensure strict implementation of, and compliance with, without modifications, the respective obligations of both parties as set forth in the road map. To us, such a mechanism is an essential component on which we must insist, because we consider it to be a true point of departure that would enable us to take advantage of the historic window of opportunity and bring about comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the entire Middle East.
Regarding suicide attacks, I wish to reiterate that Jordan took a principled position repudiating and condemning such acts on both moral and political grounds. We maintain that those operations have done harm to the Palestinian cause and have resulted in the erosion of international sympathy for it. Furthermore, they have shifted the global focus away from the core question of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories and the pressing need to end that occupation. Along the same lines, we condemn Israel’s extrajudicial killing of Palestinian citizens. Let me stress once again that the prevailing atmosphere of violence will only play into the hands of extremists on both sides of the divide. Therefore, it is high time to implement the road map as accepted by all parties and to take bold and expeditious steps to place the entire peace process back on an irreversible track.
We call upon Israel to change its current security policy, which has failed to ensure security for the Israelis. Rather, Israel should move towards restoration of confidence with the Palestinian side partner side so that both can focus on the political process by engaging in a serious implementation of the road map. To this end, Israel must ease the suffering of the Palestinian people by lifting the closures on Palestinian communities, removing the restrictions imposed on the Palestinian leadership and by withdrawing its military forces from the cities occupied since September 2000, in compliance with Security Council resolution 1402 (2002).
In the same context, my Government condemns the decision taken by the Government of Israel to remove, in principle, from the occupied Palestinian territories, the Palestinian President, Yasser Arafat, who was legitimately elected by his people. In our view, this decision seriously imperils the peace process. We call on the Government of Israel to reverse its decision, which otherwise will plunge the entire region into a dangerous tunnel.
Jordan condemns the Israeli settlement activities that take the form of unabated construction of settlements on occupied Palestinian land. Israel must end these activities, which breach the basic norms of international law and, not least, impede ongoing efforts to put the peace process back on track. We demand that the Government of Israel start dismantling all settlements erected since March 2001. This is, after all, a binding obligation of Phase I of the road map.
We also condemn the separation wall, which consolidates Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories, devours further Palestinian land, aggravates the suffering of the Palestinian population and anticipates as a fait accompli, the future shape of the Palestinian State. While we demand that Israel cease forthwith the construction of the wall, we stress the need to respect the status of the 4 June 1967 line.
The Acting President (spoke in Spanish): I now give the floor to His Excellency Mr. Baboucarr-Blaise Ismaila Jagne, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of the Gambia.
Mr. Jagne (Gambia): ...
We continue to follow closely the situation in the Middle East, and we deplore yet again the recent spate of vicious attacks and counter-attacks between Israelis and Palestinians, thus negating hope for an early settlement within the framework of the road map. Trust and confidence-building measures must be reinforced and made to attend to every stage of the implementation of the road map, if the peace process is to endure. Suicide bombings that target innocent civilians must be stopped. The occupation of Arab lands must come to an end. In reiterating our position on the Arab-Israeli conflict, we call for the creation of an independent Palestinian State living in peace alongside the State of Israel.
The Acting President (spoke in Spanish): I now give the floor to His Excellency Mr. Bhekh Bahadur Thapa, chairman of the delegation of the Kingdom of Nepal.
Mr. Thapa (Nepal): ...
The last 12 months have been a momentous period of convulsive events. It has been a mixed bag. We have made a dent in combating terrorism, but it remains a serious threat to peace. Some countries have limped back to normality, while others have descended into chaos. All sides have accepted the Middle East road map, but a new cycle of violence is undermining it. Iraq continues to be a source of concern to all. The global economic slump has turned the corner, but growth remains anaemic, and the Cancun trade talks have foundered.
In these developments, the United Nations has come into a sharp focus that is not always flattering. However, Nepal has an abiding faith in the United Nations and believes in its centrality for all humanity’s quest for shared peace, progress and justice. To small nations like ours, the United Nations is and should be the bulwark of sovereignty and defender of freedom. It has stood up to such challenges in the past, and it must prepare itself to face the future just as boldly through a process of strengthened multilateralism.
Renewed violence in the Middle East has imperilled the Quartet-endorsed road map, which promises a viable State to the Palestinians and security to the Israelis. Nepal appeals to both sides to exercise maximum restraint and engage in constructive dialogue to attain a comprehensive settlement of the long-festering crisis. It also appeals to Israel to reconsider its decision to remove Palestinian President Arafat.
The meeting rose at 7.10 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.