Question of Palestine home || Permalink || About UNISPAL || Search

English (pdf) ||Arabic||Chinese||Français||Русский||Español||

Follow UNISPAL Twitter RSS


        General Assembly
13 September 2002

Official Records
General Assembly
Fifty-seventh session
5th plenary meeting
Friday, 13 September 2002, 3 p.m.
New York

President:Mr. Kavan (Czech Republic)

The meeting was called to order at 3.05 p.m.


Item 9 of the provisional agenda (continued)

General debate

The President : I call on His Excellency Mr. Ahmed Maher El Sayed, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Arab Republic of Egypt.

Mr. Maher El Sayed (Egypt) (spoke in Arabic ): ...


The world is at an extremely delicate juncture in its history. We are at a crossroads in international relations. The enhancement of the Organization’s capacity to respond to the hopes and aspirations that arose after the end of the cold war and its divisions coincided with a trend towards neglecting that very capacity, a deepening of new divisions and a resort to unilateral decisions. Such a trend can lead only to deadlock and prevent us from addressing issues that may determine the fate of humanity and its ability to reconcile itself with nature and with advanced technology and to take the opportunities that they provide for the achievement of a better life free from poverty, want, disease, oppression and fear — a life in which justice and solidarity prevail.

We must therefore break this deadlock, which is of benefit to no party or cause, by renewing our commitment to the Charter and reaffirming our determination to work together to strengthen the United Nations, enhance its effectiveness, promote its principles and champion its purposes in confronting both the old and the new dangers that face our world. One of these dangers is the persistence of hotbeds of conflict and violence in the world, including the conflict from which we in the Middle East are suffering.

I would like to read out the statement made yesterday by the President of Egypt, Mr. Hosni Mubarak. He said:

“I listened attentively to the statement made by President Bush to the General Assembly, and I would like to welcome the positive elements in that statement. First, I welcome the affirmation by the President of the United States that the United States is committed to the establishment of an independent Palestinian State, side by side with Israel, and that all the parties must assume their responsibilities in order to achieve that goal. We hope that the peace process will receive a strong impetus through effective participation by the United States, leading to a return of stability to the area and to a just and comprehensive peace as early as possible.

“Secondly, with regard to Iraq, I welcome the fact that the United States has opened the door to the pivotal role that must be played by the United Nations, in particular the Security Council, on the question of Iraq. Such a course of action will break the deadlock and prevent any negative effects resulting from the escalation of the situation, thus maintaining the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Iraq.

“In view of this, I am calling on the Iraqi leadership to make use of this opportunity to implement all the relevant Security Council resolutions and accept the return of the inspectors immediately so that we can prevent an escalation of the situation and the dangerous consequences that would have a very negative impact on the security and safety of the brotherly Iraqi people and of the Middle East as a whole.”

The Palestinian people continue to suffer under an oppressive occupation that rejects the judgement of history, embodied by the Charter, that the age of colonialism has long gone. It is an occupation that clings to policies reminiscent of those of the era of darkness and chaos and may even bring us back to that era. The Arabs have extended their hand to Israel with a unanimously adopted initiative that reflects their genuine belief in a peace that guarantees — without exceptions or double standards — the rights of all. If Israel genuinely desires peace, it must abandon its greed and illusions, put a stop to its practices and aggressive acts against the Palestinian people and their legitimate leadership and agree to withdraw from all Arab territories occupied in 1967 in Palestine, Syria and Lebanon. An independent Palestinian State, with East Jerusalem as its capital, can then be established and can join all the Arab States that have demonstrated their readiness to establish normal relations with Israel and live with it in peace and security.

Justice, right, mutual respect and the restoration to people of their rights were the building blocks on which peace between Egypt and Israel was established, securing safe borders and normal relations during the past 25 years. The other model, however, which Israel has espoused with respect to our brethren in Palestine, has achieved neither peace nor security; rather, it has resulted in victims on both sides, who fall each day, paying the price for an attempt to obstruct the natural course of events.


Peace and security cannot be established in the Middle East while a grave disparity persists in the rights and obligations of the States of the region,which upsets its balance of power. Regional stability will be achieved only when Israel accedes to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), because it is the only State in the region that has not yet done so. Such stability will also be attained through progress towards the implementation of President Mubarak’s initiative to rid the Middle East of all weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems.


The President : I now give the floor to His Excellency Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Kuwait.

Sheikh Al-Sabah (Kuwait) ( spoke in Arabic): ...


An elusive challenge that continues to stand out is the constant deterioration of the situation in the occupied Palestinian territories. The escalating confrontations have reached a level that threatens peace and security in the Middle East region as a whole. The brutal practices of the Israeli occupation forces, including the unwarranted excessive use of force against the Palestinian people, the deliberate destruction of the institutions and infrastructure of the Palestinian Authority, in clear violation of United Nations resolutions and the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, have resulted in exacerbating the economic and social crises sustained by the Palestinians for more than five decades. Large-scale round-ups, house demolitions, curfews, bombardment of civilian neighbourhoods, incursions into villages, town and cities and helicopter gunship assaults on civilians have become daily events for the individual Palestinian citizen on the street. Indeed, those acts have become routine stories in radio and television news.

We have silently resigned ourselves to that. It seems that the international community has been numbed into accepting that way of life for defenceless Palestinians. But unfortunately all Israeli practices seem to be emanating from an entrenched precept that Israel is immune to all accountability, exempted from all jurisdictions and shielded from all criticism and condemnation by the United Nations or the world’s major Powers.

Against that background, Kuwait reaffirms its commitment to the pan-Arab position adopted at the recent Beirut Arab Summit, which endorsed the initiative put forward by His Royal Highness Prince Abdullah Bin Abdel Aziz, Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia and Chief of the Saudi National Guard. Kuwait remains committed to supportingthe right of the Palestinian people to self-determination and to the establishment of their independent State on their national territory with Jerusalem as their capital. Kuwait will continue to demand full Israeli withdrawal from all occupied Arab territories, including the Syrian Golan and Lebanese territory.


The President: I now give the floor to His Excellency Mr. Igor S. Ivanov, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation.

Mr. Ivanov (Russian Federation) (spoke in Russian ): ...


Since its establishment, the United Nations has been engaged in the settlement of regional conflicts. Those so-called local problems have long turned into one of the main threats to international stability. Terrorism, political extremism, and economic and social degradation are their customary companions. Certainly, the primary responsibility in any settlement rests with the relevant parties, but multilateral mechanisms have also repeatedly demonstrated their effectiveness in the restoration of peace and concord. A tangible progress made with the United Nations visible involvement in the post-Taliban reconstruction of Afghanistan is one of our common accomplishments. We can add to this the adoption by the United Nations Security Council of major practical decisions in support of a comprehensive settlement in the Middle East and the resolution of crises in a number of African countries.


The President : I now give the floor to His Excellency Mr. Sükrü Sina Gürel, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Turkey.

Mr. Gürel (Turkey): ...

In the aftermath of 11 September, peace and stability in the Middle East have gained even more importance and urgency. Yet the present outlook of the ongoing conflict does not leave much room for optimism. Violence persists, taking a huge toll on both sides. This year has been marked by successive terrorist attacks on Israeli civilians and the disproportionate use of force by Israel against the Palestinians. The occupation of Palestinian towns and the destruction of Palestinian infrastructure have only exacerbated the already difficult living conditions of the Palestinian people.

The parameters of peace in the Middle East are embedded in Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973). Those resolutions have now been given fuller meaning with the adoption of Council resolution 1397 (2001), laying out the vision of two States living side by side within secure boundaries.

The international community is also encouraged by the Arab League plan adopted at its Beirut Summit, based on a vision of the coexistence of all States in the region through the full implementation of the relevant Security Council resolutions. Likewise, the 24 June statement of the United States President charts the contours of a process that will lead to the two-State objective.

Mr. Aguilar Zinser (Mexico), Vice-President, took the Chair.

The international community should engage itself in encouraging and persuading all parties to the Middle East conflict on the road to lasting peace. The initiatives of the “quartet” are welcome, and Turkey, as a regional facilitator, is ready to offer its assistance in whatever way may be necessary. We need a relaunching of the peace process, and Turkey stands ready to host a meeting to that end.


The Acting President (spoke in Spanish ): I now give the floor to His Excellency Mr. Brian Cowen, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ireland.

Mr. Cowen (Ireland): ...


In his address to the General Assembly yesterday, the Secretary-General also correctly identified four serious current threats to world peace.

First, on the Middle East, there can be no doubt that there is a need for greater urgency in the efforts to bring an end to the conflict. The vision of Security Council resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973) and 1397 (2002) must be implemented.

For far too long the Palestinian people have been denied their legitimate rights. Today they exist in a state of deep impoverishment. Ireland strongly believes that in order to reach a settlement that will give the Israeli people the security they deserve and that will give the Palestinian people their legitimate rights and sovereignty, the parties must move forward. They must in particular address not just the security issues but also the economic and humanitarian needs of Palestinians, and they must establish a concrete target for a political settlement.

For its part, the European Union, working closely with the United Nations, the United States and Russia through the “quartet”, will continue to encourage and assist the parties to end the conflict and move towards a permanent peace.

This conflict has been an ongoing source of suffering for the peoples of the region and also a focal point of instability for the rest of the world. It remains a threat of the utmost gravity to international peace and security. We can and must give it the highest priority.


The Acting President ( spoke in Spanish ): I now call on Her Excellency Ms. Maria Soledad Alvear Valenzuela, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Chile.

Ms. Alvear (Chile) ( spoke in Spanish ): ...


Because of its gravity, I must refer to a conflict that affects the entire international community. Chile wishes to express its deep concern at the grave situation in the Middle East in the light of the impasse in the peace negotiations aimed at finding a solution to the crisis between Palestinians and Israelis. The continuing escalation of the violence that began in the region on 28 September 2000 continues to claim many victims and to cause heavy material damage, and threatens to spread throughout the region, thereby posing a serious danger to international peace and security.

The Government of Chile reiterates the need for the strict implementation of the relevant resolutions of the Security Council and recourse to constructive negotiation, with a view to achieving a just, comprehensive and lasting peace that make possible the creation of a viable Palestinian State and coexistence with the State of Israel within secure and internationally recognized borders. A world in which Palestinians and Israelis can live together will be a more secure world.


The Acting President ( spoke in Spanish ): I now give the floor to His Excellency Mr. Guillermo Pérez-Cadalso Arias, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Honduras.

Mr. Pérez-Cadalso Arias (Honduras) (spoke in Spanish ): ...


At the present time, there are grounds for grave concern in the face of events and realities that threaten international peace and security. The situation in the Middle East has been a constant cause of concern to all. Honduras appeals to the men and women of that region to repudiate and renounce violence and thus give peace a chance for the sake of a generation of children who see and experience nothing but violence as they grow. This and other bloody conflicts require us to rethink and reformulate new ideas for prompt action.


The meeting rose at 7.20 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-178. Corrections will be issued after the end of the session in a consolidated corrigendum.

Follow UNISPAL RSS Twitter