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UNITED
NATIONS
A

        General Assembly
A/63/PV.60
26 November 2008

Official Records

General Assembly
Sixty-third session

60th plenary meeting
Wednesday, 26 November 2008, 10 a.m.
New York

President:Mr. D’Escoto Brockmann ............................................................................. (Nicaragua)


In the absence of the President, Mr. Siles Alvarado (Bolivia), Vice-President, took the Chair.

The meeting was called to order at 10.20 a.m.

Agenda item 16 (continued)

Question of Palestine

Draft resolutions (A/63/L.32, A/63/L.33, A/63/L.34 and A/63/L.35)

The Acting President (spoke in Spanish): Members will recall that the General Assembly held the debate on agenda item 16 at its fifty-seventh and fifty-eighth plenary meetings on 24 and 25 November 2008.

Before giving the floor to the speakers in explanation of vote before the vote, I would like to remind delegations that explanations of vote are limited to 10 minutes and should be made by delegations from their seats.

I now give the floor to the representative of the United States of America in explanation of vote.

Ms. House (United States of America): The four draft resolutions under this agenda item, in combination with over 15 other draft resolutions that will come before the General Assembly this year, as every year, form a clear pattern of institutional bias directed at one State Member of the United Nations.

The United States has clearly stated its policy that there should be two democratic States, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security. We back up that policy with substantial diplomatic support for both sides, consistent with the process launched in Annapolis in November 2007. We also contribute very significant financial and programmatic support to the Palestinian Authority and to Palestinian refugees, for whom the United States is the largest single State donor.

We see no contradiction whatsoever between support for the Palestinian people and support for Israel. Both sides need support to be able to take the steps necessary for a just and lasting peace.

Each year, therefore, we are distressed and discouraged as the General Assembly unhelpfully devotes a disproportionate number of resolutions related to the Middle East. All of them are unbalanced by the explicit or implicit one-sided criticism of Israel.

The draft resolutions discussed under this and other upcoming agenda items entitled, “The situation in the Middle East”, “Report of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories”, “Permanent sovereignty of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including Jerusalem, and of the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan over their natural resources” and others are repetitive and, I repeat, unbalanced. They are completely at odds with the General Assembly’s actions regarding any other Member State, geographic area or issue. They place demands on the Israeli side while failing to acknowledge that both sides have obligations and both must take difficult steps towards peace that can only be agreed through negotiations between the parties.

The United States accepts the principle that the General Assembly may look into the practices of individual States. However, last year, the Assembly adopted 14 resolutions specifically criticizing Israel and seven more expressing support for the Palestinian people vis-à-vis their relations with Israel.

In the same year, the Assembly adopted only six resolutions specifically critical of any Member State other than Israel. We supported some of those and opposed others, but all together, the 21 resolutions addressing alleged Israeli violations and obligations stretched to 61 pages of text compared to only 20 for resolutions critical of the six other nations. The Assembly is on course to repeat that same pattern again this year.

Whatever the merits of the issue, this represents an extraordinarily disproportionate and unjustified focus on one Member State. The situation in the Middle East is very important, but viewed in relation to all problems facing our planet, this matter does simply not warrant three quarters of all the time and energy the General Assembly devotes to critical review of the action of its 192 Member States.

Of particular concern to the United States are two draft resolutions submitted for adoption today: “Division for Palestinian Rights of the Secretariat” (A/63/L.33) and “Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People” (A/63/L.32). Additionally, there is a text that will be considered under agenda item 30, entitled “Work of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories” (A/C.4/63/L.15).

These entities, established more than a generation ago, perpetuate and institutionalize the perception of inherent United Nations bias. By their very nature, they fail to properly demand actions from both sides and, instead, focus only on Israel. The millions of dollars expended on them and the significant staff contributions consumed by them could be better directed towards more pressing issues, including direct assistance to needy Palestinians.

Consistent with the overall programme of United Nations reform, the time has come for the Assembly to seriously review these bodies with a sharp focus on what, if anything, they contribute towards a solution to the Middle East conflict.

These institutional arrangements, backed by nearly two dozen one-sided draft resolutions, serve more to undermine than advance ongoing negotiations. They also undermine the credibility of the United Nations which, as a member of the Quartet, must be seen by both sides as an honest broker in facilitating a resolution to the Middle East conflict. They make no positive contribution to achieving a just resolution to the conflict. Instead, these draft resolutions can have a corrosive effect on the negotiations, both by convincing many on the Israeli side that Israel will be treated unfairly by the United Nations no matter what compromises it offers and by convincing extremist Palestinians such as Hamas that they will be spared criticism no matter what they do, including terrorist attacks intentionally targeting civilians. Certainly these draft resolutions add nothing to the far more detailed and up-to-date monthly discussions of the Security Council on the situation in the Middle East.

Finally, these draft resolutions presuppose the outcome of permanent status issues, such as the return of refugees, checkpoints and settlement activity, which properly belong to ongoing bilateral negotiations. In the 9 November briefing to the Quartet, the Palestinian and Israeli negotiators pledged to continue bilateral talks until they achieved their goal of a comprehensive agreement on all issues without exception, as agreed at Annapolis. Both sides attested that the negotiating structure is effective and productive and affirmed their intent to keep it in place. They noted — and I wish to emphasize this — that third parties should not intervene in the negotiations absent their joint request.

The United States is acutely aware of the suffering of the Palestinian people. We have been and will continue to be at the forefront of international efforts to address the underlying causes of that suffering. But it is impossible to see how supporting resolutions so detached from the reality on the ground and so intrusive into the substance of sensitive, sustained negotiations will either alleviate that suffering or contribute to a solution. Therefore, we cannot support these draft resolutions.

The Acting President (spoke in Spanish): We have heard the only speaker in explanation of the vote before the vote.

We turn first to draft resolution A/63/L.32, entitled “Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People”. Since the introduction of this draft resolution, Nigeria and Somalia have become co-sponsors.

The Assembly will now take a decision on draft resolution A/63/L.32. A recorded vote has been requested.

A recorded vote was taken.

In favour:

Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chile, China, Comoros, Congo, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Cuba, Cyprus, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Grenada, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Iraq, Jamaica, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Paraguay, Philippines, Qatar, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Syrian Arab Republic, Tajikistan, Timor-Leste, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of), Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Against:

Australia, Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia (Federated States of), Nauru, Palau, United States of America.

Abstaining:

Albania, Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Colombia, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, El Salvador, Estonia, Fiji, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Samoa, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Tonga, Ukraine, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Uruguay.

Draft resolution A/63/L.32 was adopted by 107 votes to 8, with 57 abstentions (resolution 63/26).

[Subsequently the delegation of Belize advised the Secretariat that it had intended to vote in favour.]

The Acting President (spoke in Spanish): We shall now proceed to consider draft resolution A/63/L.33, entitled “Division for Palestinian Rights of the Secretariat”. I should like to inform the Assembly that since the introduction of this draft resolution, Nigeria and Somalia have become co-sponsors.

The Assembly will now take a decision on draft resolution A/63/L.33. A recorded vote has been requested.

A recorded vote was taken.

In favour:

Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chile, China, Comoros, Congo, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Cuba, Cyprus, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Grenada, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, India, Indonesia, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Iraq, Jamaica, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Philippines, Qatar, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Singapore, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Syrian Arab Republic, Tajikistan, Timor-Leste, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of), Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Against:

Australia, Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia (Federated States of), Nauru, Palau, United States of America.

Abstaining:

Albania, Andorra, Armenia, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Colombia, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, El Salvador, Estonia, Fiji, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Samoa, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Tonga, Ukraine, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Draft resolution A/63/L.33 was adopted by 106 votes to 8, with 57 abstentions (resolution 63/27).

[Subsequently, the delegation of Belize informed the Secretariat that it had intended to vote in favour.]

The Acting President (spoke in Spanish): We shall now proceed to consider draft resolution A/63/L.34, entitled “Special information programme on the question of Palestine of the Department of Public Information of the Secretariat”. I should like to inform the Assembly that since the introduction of this draft resolution, Nigeria and Somalia have become

co-sponsors.

The Assembly will now take a decision on draft resolution A/63/L.34. A recorded vote has been requested.

A recorded vote was taken.

In favour:

Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chile, China, Colombia, Comoros, Congo, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Iraq, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Syrian Arab Republic, Tajikistan, Thailand, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Timor-Leste, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of), Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Against:

Australia, Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia (Federated States of), Nauru, Palau, United States of America.

Abstaining:

Cameroon, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Tonga.

Draft resolution A/63/L.34 was adopted by 162 votes to 8, with 4 abstentions (resolution 63/28).

[Subsequently, the delegation of Belize informed the Secretariat that it had intended to vote in favour.]

The Acting President (spoke in Spanish): The Assembly will now take a decision on draft resolution A/63/L.35, entitled “Peaceful settlement of the question of Palestine”. I should like to inform the Assembly that, since the introduction of this draft resolution, Nigeria and Somalia have become co-sponsors.

The Assembly will now take a decision on draft resolution A/63/L.35. A recorded vote has been requested.

A recorded vote was taken.

In favour:

Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burundi, Cambodia, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chile, China, Colombia, Comoros, Congo, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, France, Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Iraq, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Syrian Arab Republic, Tajikistan, Thailand, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Timor-Leste, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of), Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Against:

Australia, Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia (Federated States of), Nauru, Palau, United States of America.

Abstaining:

Cameroon, Canada, Tonga.

Draft resolution A/63/L.35 was adopted by 164 votes to 7, with 3 abstentions (resolution 63/29).

[Subsequently, the delegation of Belize informed the Secretariat that it had intended to vote in favour.]

The Acting President (spoke in Spanish): Before giving the floor to speakers in explanation of vote after the vote, may I remind delegations that explanations of vote are limited to 10 minutes and should be made by delegations from their seats.

Mr. Salsabili (Islamic Republic of Iran): I wish to put on record at this Assembly that my delegation voted in favour of all the resolutions just adopted under agenda item 16 in the spirit of solidarity with the Palestinian people. However, I would like to express my delegation’s reservations on those parts of the said resolutions which may not be in line with the stated policies and positions of my country or may be construed as recognition of the Israeli regime.

Mr. Kassianides (France) (spoke in French): I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union. The candidate countries Turkey, Croatia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia; the countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia; and Ukraine align themselves with this statement.

The European Union voted in favour of resolution 63/28 on the special information programme on the question of Palestine of the Department of Public Information of the Secretariat. The European Union welcomes the new elements introduced by the Palestinian mission in the spirit of cooperation. These new elements enabled the improvement of the resolution on which we have just voted.

In light of the ongoing peace process, the European Union encourages the Department of Public Information and the parties to improve the contribution of the special programme in the promotion of dialogue and comprehension between Israeli and Palestinian societies. The European Union is ready to work together with the Department of Public Information and the parties to achieve this objective.

The Acting President (spoke in Spanish): We have heard the last speaker in explanation of vote after the vote.

The General Assembly has thus concluded this stage of its consideration of agenda item 16.

Agenda item 15 (continued)

The situation in the Middle East

Draft resolutions (A/63/L.36 and A/63/L.37)

The Acting President (spoke in Spanish): Members will recall that the General Assembly held a debate on agenda item 15 on 25 November 2008 at its fifty-ninth plenary meeting.

Mr. Salsabili (Islamic Republic of Iran): On this very agenda item on the situation in the Middle East, this Assembly heard a number of unfounded distortions and allegations against the Islamic Republic of Iran by the representative of Australia. In the exercise of the right of reply while rejecting the said allegations and distortions, which were made under an agenda item with no relevance to the issue, I wish to bring the following points to the attention of Member States.

The Islamic Republic of Iran has consistently condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. Iran has been and is a victim of terrorism — a terrorism committed by terrorist groups that have been supported by certain Western countries. Given the history of unqualified support by Australia to the State terrorism perpetrated by the Israeli regime against the Palestinians, Lebanese and others in the region, Australia is the last to be in a position to judge the record of others in this area.

Iran has fully cooperated with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and Iran’s nuclear programme has been and is absolutely peaceful. Any claims to the contrary are ill-intended and absurdly false. Iran’s cooperation with the Agency and the peaceful nature of our nuclear programme has been confirmed by the IAEA’s own reports on numerous occasions. While the representative of Australia claimed that Iran has not cooperated with the IAEA — a claim that is totally groundless — he, in a seriously questionable and utterly inexplicable manner, neglected the fact that the Israeli regime, that enjoys all-out support from Australia, has clandestinely developed hundreds of nuclear weapons and warheads. Moreover, it is not a party to the Non-Proliferation Treaty and other international instruments on weapons of mass destruction and is the most serious threat that the region is facing today.

If Australia is genuinely worried about the Middle East, which we doubt it is, it had better cease and desist from its complicity with the Israeli regime in its war crimes and join the international community in condemning the said regime’s atrocities and destabilizing policies and practices in the region. Australia’s voting record on the resolutions on the question of Palestine and the situation in the Middle East, adopted by this Assembly every year, as it has today, is adequately self-explanatory. That record suffices to show the political motivation behind Australia’s behaviour in crying wolf on behalf of others in the Middle East.

The Acting President (spoke in Spanish): We will now proceed to consider draft resolutions A/63/L.36 and A/63/L.37.

We will turn first to draft resolution A/63/L.36, entitled “Jerusalem”. I should like to inform the Assembly that, since the introduction of this draft resolution, the following countries have become sponsors: Nigeria and Somalia.

The General Assembly will now take a decision on draft resolution A/63/L.36. A recorded vote has been requested.

A recorded vote was taken.

In favour:

Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burundi, Cambodia, Canada, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chile, China, Colombia, Comoros, Congo, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Iraq, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Syrian Arab Republic, Tajikistan, Thailand, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Timor-Leste, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of), Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Against:

Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia (Federated States of), Nauru, Palau, United States of America.

Abstaining:

Australia, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Fiji, Haiti, Tonga.

Draft resolution A/63/L.36 was adopted by 163 votes to 6, with 6 abstentions (resolution 63/30).

The Acting President (spoke in Spanish): We will now proceed to consider draft resolution A/63/L.37, entitled “The Syrian Golan”. I should like to inform the Assembly that, since the introduction of this draft resolution, the following countries have become sponsors: Nigeria and Somalia.

The General Assembly will now take a decision on draft resolution A/63/L.37. A recorded vote has been requested.

A recorded vote was taken.

In favour:

Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chile, China, Colombia, Comoros, Congo, Costa Rica, Cuba, Cyprus, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Iraq, Jamaica, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Qatar, Russian Federation, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Syrian Arab Republic, Tajikistan, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of), Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Against:

Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia (Federated States of), Palau, United States of America.

Abstaining:

Albania, Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Fiji, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Haiti, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro, Nauru, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Samoa, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Tonga, Ukraine, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Draft resolution A/63/L.37 was adopted by 116 votes to 6, with 52 abstentions (resolution 63/31).

The Acting President (spoke in Spanish): Before giving the floor to speakers in explanation of vote after the vote, may I remind delegations that explanations of vote are limited to 10 minutes and should be made by delegations from their seats.

Mr. Tarrisse da Fontoura (Brazil) (spoke in Spanish): With your permission, Mr. Vice-President, I would like to speak in Portuñol.

I would like to explain the vote of the delegations of Brazil and Argentina on draft resolution A/63/L.37 on the Syrian Golan, which has just been approved by the Assembly. Brazil and Argentina voted in favour of this draft resolution because we understand that the essential aspect of this draft is linked to the illegality of acquiring territory by force. Article 2, paragraph 4, of the Charter of the United Nations prohibits the use or threat of force against the territorial integrity of a State. This constitutes an imperative standard of international law.

At the same time, I would like to qualify the position of our delegations with regard to operative paragraph 6 of the draft resolution in question. Our vote does not prejudge the content of that operative paragraph, in particular in its reference to the border of 4 June 1967. On behalf of the Governments of Brazil and Argentina, I would like to take this opportunity to urge the Israeli and Syrian authorities to renew negotiations with a view to finding a definitive solution to the situation in the Syrian Golan, in accordance with resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973) of the Security Council and the principle of land for peace.

Mr. Salsabili (Islamic Republic of Iran): I wish to put on record in this Assembly that my delegation voted in favour of all the draft resolutions just adopted in the spirit of solidarity with the Palestinian people and other peoples under occupation. However, I would like to express my delegation’s reservations on those parts of the said draft resolutions that may not be in line with the stated policies and positions of my country or may be construed as recognition of the Israeli regime.

Mr. Ja’afari (Syrian Arab Republic) (spoke in Arabic): My delegation would like to express its full and deep appreciation and gratitude to the General Assembly for adopting once again, as in every year since 1981, with a majority of votes based on justice and law, of draft resolution A/63/L.37, entitled “The Syrian Golan”, as well as other draft resolutions relating to the question of Palestine and the situation in the Middle East. By the same token, I would like to thank the delegations of Somalia and Nigeria for joining the sponsors of the draft resolution that has just been adopted by the Assembly.

The international community’s continuous support for these resolutions exemplifies the upholding of the principles and purposes of the United Nations Charter by Member States and their backing of our right to recover our land occupied by Israel, which has been supported by a super-Power and a few other States for more than 40 years. There is no doubt that voting for these resolutions sends an explicit international message to Israel and those who protect it that occupation, killing, expansionist policies and aggression, the construction of settlements, faits accomplis and the annexation of the land of others are practices that the entire international community repudiates and rejects.

I wish to reiterate my country’s thanks to all the States that sponsored the draft resolution entitled “The Syrian Golan” and to the States voting for it. I also urge those States that abstained or voted against the resolution to listen to the voice of international law, which should govern our conduct, our behaviour, our actions and our voting in this Organization whenever the matter relates to respect for the Charter, respect for the sovereignty of United Nations Member States and refraining from aggression and attacks against their sovereignty.

I wish to reiterate my country’s sincere appeal on behalf of the pursuit of a comprehensive and lasting peace, and our insistence, stronger now than ever, on the liberation of the Syrian Golan from Israeli occupation by all means as guaranteed by international law.

I would like to take this opportunity to urge the international community to help us achieve this objective in order to prevent the eruption of war, through continuing to bring pressure to bear on Israel, the party that impedes peace, and those who protect it, thus forcing Israel to accept a just and comprehensive peace that will secure a promising future for the region.

Mr. Mansour (Palestine): Palestine would like to express its gratitude and appreciation to all countries that played a very important role in introducing the resolutions just adopted and all the countries that voted in favour of them. We also express our gratitude to all the political blocs that collaborated with us in order to introduce very balanced and responsible draft resolutions that have become resolutions.

We want to thank the Arab Group, the Organization of the Islamic Conference, the Non-Aligned Movement, the African Union, the Rio Group, the European Union and all those who worked with us in reaching responsible language that is reflective of the position of nearly the entire international community. We are grateful to them and will continue to work with them to bring Israel into compliance with international law, to uphold international law and to allow for the implementation of these resolutions. We will work to bring peace and justice to our region and put an end to the occupation, which started in 1967, of our land and areas, including East Jerusalem, and to find a just and agreed-upon solution to the refugee question based on resolution 194 (III).

We believe that the challenge for the international community is to bring Israel into compliance. It is not in the interests of the international community or the United Nations to allow Israel to have preferential treatment, to continue acting outside of the law, and to continue to get away with not fulfilling its obligations enshrined in the United Nations Charter and in General Assembly and Security Council resolutions.

These resolutions are very balanced. The fact that almost all Member States voted in favour of them reflects the position of the international community in trying to find a just solution to this conflict, which has lasted too long — 61 years since the Nakba — and 41 years since occupation. Israel is getting away with not abiding by international law and the will of the international community. I believe that shielding Israel from being brought into compliance does a disservice to this international Organization, to international law and to the belief in a just solution to the conflict.

When we all responded to the invitation of the United States to Annapolis — when 50 countries and international organizations went there about a year ago — we were all representing in essence the United Nations in order to help the two parties achieve a just solution to the conflict. We were hoping that by now we would have a peace treaty that would allow for the birth of the Palestinian State.

Unfortunately, it does not seem as if this peace treaty will be agreed by the end of this year. Until it is agreed, it is the duty of the international community, which played a role in creating the problem and in trying to find a solution to the problem through the adoption of resolution 181 — the partition plan — to remain engaged on this issue until it is resolved in all its aspects. We promise that we will continue to work with the United Nations and will continue to appreciate what it does for us until we bring about a just solution to this conflict.

Once again, we express our gratitude to all Member States and groups, including the European Union as I mentioned, under the presidency of France, for its cooperation and support in attaining the balanced and effective language which enabled a large number of countries to vote in favour of the resolutions.

We hope that next year if we move effectively towards peace and achieve a peace treaty, we promise you that we will reflect the essence of that peace treaty that would allow for the birth of our State, in the resolutions that we adopt next year. But that we would really like to do is not to adopt a single resolution if our State is born, if the Israeli occupation is terminated and if our flag, the flag of the independent, contiguous, viable State of Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital, is raised with the 192 other flags outside of this building. We will be so delighted that we will not bother the Assembly with a single resolution nor engage in discussions of balanced or unbalanced or of upholding international law or anything of that sort. We are so eager for that moment when we have our own State and to open a new chapter of relationships between us and our neighbours, including Israel, where we can live in peace and security.

So the vote of the Assembly today is helping us and giving our people strength to continue with the struggle until that moment when we can relieve the Assembly from the task of dealing with and adopting so many of our resolutions. But until we reach that moment, we will not forget about those resolutions and the need to uphold international law.

The Acting President (spoke in Spanish): The General Assembly has thus concluded the present stage of its consideration of agenda item 15.

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The meeting rose at 11.50 a.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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