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        General Assembly
12 November 2001

Official Records
General Assembly
Fifty-sixth session
48th plenary meeting
Monday, 12 November 2001, 9 a.m.
New York

President:Mr. Han Seung-soo ................................................ (Republic of Korea)

The meeting was called to order at 9 a.m.


Agenda item 9 (continued)

General debate


Mr. Borg (Malta): ...


Other world events continue to pose a threat to the fundamental right of peoples to live in a secure, stable and prosperous environment. The current state of affairs in the Middle East is an example. The dramatic contrast between the optimism apparent at the Millennium Assembly’s opening and the escalation in violence over the past few months has made it increasingly difficult for the parties to return to the positions they were in just over 12 months ago.

Malta is convinced that the Mitchell report and the Tenet Plan provide a realistic and readily achievable way out of the spiral of violence that has engulfed the region. The peace, security and welfare of all the people concerned require that their full implementation be urgently embarked upon. This necessitates the re-establishment of security cooperation between the parties in the interests of both Israelis and Palestinians; the stationing of international observers, preferably from several regions; and an end to all new settlement activity, including so-called “natural growth”. Against this backdrop, Malta hopes that both parties will be able to return to the negotiating table with the aim of achieving a just and permanent peace in the region on the basis of the relevant Security Council resolutions.


The President : I now give the floor to His Excellency Mr. Joschka Fischer, Deputy Chancellor and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Germany.

Mr. Fischer (Germany) ( spoke in German; English interpretation provided by the delegation ): ...


Solving regional conflicts will be of critical importance in the fight against terrorism. The Middle East conflict is a top priority. Our hearts go out to the many innocent victims on all sides. Both the Israeli and Palestinian peoples have a right to live free of fear, in dignity and in peace. This is indivisible not only from Israel’s right of statehood, as recognized in Madrid — which is, in our view, inviolable — but also from its security. Germany bears a special responsibility towards Israel stemming from its past. Any policy that aims at destroying Israel by means of terrorism or otherwise will face determined opposition from Germany. However, we equally advocate the Palestinians’ right to self-determination and their right to their own State, Palestine. In the European Union Berlin Declaration of March 1999 we stated that “the creation of a democratic, viable and peaceful sovereign Palestinian State on the basis of existing agreements and through negotiations would be the best guarantee of Israel’s security”. This is truer today than ever before.

Never before has there been broader international backing for a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Mitchell recommendations still form the basis for the timetable accepted by all sides, and in their spirit we call on Israelis and Palestinians alike to put an immediate and lasting end to violence and confrontation, to resume the agreed direct talks without delay and to seriously implement the negotiated ceasefires. These talks must lead to genuine negotiations on a viable political solution.

The real aim of the terrorists is to trigger a clash of civilizations and to inflame the situation in the Near and Middle East. Under no circumstances can we allow ourselves to be drawn into such a conflict. We are fighting international terrorism, not Islam.


The Acting President : I now call on His Excellency The Honourable John Briceño, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Natural Resources, Environment, Commerce and Industry of Belize.

Mr. Briceño (Belize): ...


If we are to speak of shared responsibility for development and the maintenance of peace and security, this year especially we must ensure that everyone be allowed to participate in this global forum. In this light, we continue to appeal to this Organization to consider the right of the 23 million people of the Republic of China on Taiwan and allow their voices to be heard in this world institution. Equally, we must continue to advocate recognition of the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination, including the right to their independent State.


Mr. Gadio (Senegal) ( spoke in French ): ...


Looking sadly toward the Middle East, Senegal is following recent developments with great concern and feels solidarity with the Palestinian people in light of the new tragedy. Horrified by the scope of this tragedy, Senegal condemns the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories and the intensification of acts of violence against innocent civilians. Senegal addresses an earnest appeal to all the parties, the co-sponsors of the peace process, the European Union, the Security Council and the international community, for the withdrawal of Israeli forces from the occupied Palestinian areas; for the immediate cessation of all acts of violence and provocation; for respect for the Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War and the relevant United Nations resolutions; for the resumption of peace negotiations in accordance with the agreed timetable; and for the conclusion of an overall settlement agreement that is just, durable and in conformity with resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973) of the Security Council.

Peace cannot prosper nor can the development of the region be ensured so long as Israelis and Palestinians fail in their efforts to forge bonds of confidence, as sovereign States within internationally recognized and guaranteed borders. I am happy to note that the European Union and the United States have recently affirmed this, inasmuch as Israel and the future State of Palestine each have the right to exist, to live in peace and to develop in security and dignity.


Mr. Ásgrímsson (Iceland): ...


Uprooting terrorism in the world must go hand in hand with solving regional conflicts that threaten international peace and security. This is particularly true for the Middle East. By prolonging the violence and refusing to negotiate, both sides play into the hands of extremist elements that want neither a continuation of the peace process nor a political solution to the Middle East conflict. Both parties have to resume negotiations unconditionally. That is the only way to secure lasting peace in the region, which should be based upon the establishment of a viable and democratic Palestinian State and on the right of the Israelis to live in peace and security within internationally recognized borders. A continuation of the present dire conditions cannot be tolerated any longer.


The Acting President: I now give the floor to Mrs. Benita Ferrero-Waldner, the Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs of Austria.

Mrs. Ferrero-Waldner (Austria): ...


There are some positive signs to that effect. These are, first, that during the past weeks, we have witnessed new astonishing political — maybe even geopolitical — alignments that, if followed through, are comparable to other watershed events of historic proportions. Secondly, the menace of an unprecedented, devastating type of terrorism is compelling us to take a fresh look at the root causes of much that is unacceptable in our world, according to our own standards, but which we have been tolerating, or at least living with, quite contrary to our declared principles. I refer to the abject levels of poverty, inequality and injustice. These factors are at the origin of many conflicts around the globe. Some of them are particularly dangerous, providing breeding grounds for global terrorism or serving as pretexts for terrorists. It would be irresponsible if we — the international community — did not engage in renewed efforts to find solutions to these regional conflicts, be they in the Middle East, in Afghanistan, in Kashmir, in the Caucasus or in the Balkans, as well as in the area around the Great Lakes, for instance, which has seen so much human suffering.


Under the present circumstances, Austria’s priorities outside Europe are the Middle East and Central Asia, not least because these areas have a direct bearing on the fight against terrorism in its present phase.

The Middle East conflict has been on our agenda without interruption since the time of the creation of the United Nations. There is no doubt that we have a special obligation to contribute to a just and viable solution. A heightened sense of responsibility is felt when, on the one hand, violence escalates, but when, on the other — as I see it — new opportunities have emerged. Austria is therefore of the opinion that major concerted efforts should be undertaken so that negotiations can resume on the basis of Security Council resolutions without delay. Only sincere negotiations and a sincere renunciation of violence can bring a rapprochement of the two parties and, finally, peace.


Mr. El-Khatib (Jordan) ( spoke in Arabic ): ...


We recognize that a truly effective international effort to eradicate terrorism primarily requires, as far as the Middle East region is concerned, a just and acceptable resolution of the question of Palestine, whose long-running implications on the ground remain the chief source of pain and suffering across the region.

The current situation of constant killings and destruction as a result of Israel’s practices of using force against the Palestinian people and the siege of their towns and communities constitute a constant incitement that feeds escalation in a way that endangers security and stability throughout the whole region.

Jordan firmly believes that the resolution of this conflict will not be possible by the use of force or by security and coercive measures. There is really no alternative before the two sides but to return to the negotiating table as equal partners and to seek a settlement that ensures their legitimate rights and their future. This option will remain elusive until parallel mutual steps are adopted on the basis of the accords and obligations agreed upon by both the Palestinian and Israeli sides.

His Majesty King Abdullah II has been engaged in enormous efforts to help the region break out of the vicious circle engulfing it because of the ongoing confrontations between the two sides. King Abdullah has contributed positively to the intense international contacts and efforts to achieve that goal. Those endeavours have indeed led to the building of a full international consensus on the requirements needed to break the current deadlock. Those requirements include, in the first place, ending the use of the Israeli military machine against the Palestinian people, lifting the blockade imposed on them and abandoning the policy of assassinations and incursions into areas under the control of the Palestinian National Authority.

Implementing those steps would set out an appropriate entry to start the implementation of the recommendations of the Mitchell Commission, the thrust of which is to create favourable conditions that allow return to the negotiating table.

Ten years after the Madrid Peace Conference, the region is seething with frustration over the failure to reach the long-awaited peace. People there are no longer satisfied by the mere existence of a peace process. Therefore, the revival of the peace process in itself is no longer tenable in the absence of a genuinely meaningful effort that translates into concrete progress on the road to peace.

Prolonged confrontations have resulted not only in the failure to carry out several obligations agreed upon, but also in retreating from undertakings that were already in place. This demonstrates that phased and interim agreements are inadequate and ineffective to address the status quo. Therefore, starting the final status negotiations has become now a pressing priority in order to achieve the principal objective of the peace process, namely, the fulfilment of the national rights of the Palestinian people and the establishment of their viable independent State in their homeland, as well as the guaranteeing of the security of Israel.

Peace that can be acceptable to the peoples of the region must be comprehensive in terms of resolving, on the one hand, the whole array of major issues: the occupied territories, Jerusalem, the refugees, security and weapons of mass destruction, and economic cooperation; and including on the other, all tracks and the States concerned.

Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973) remain the basis of the peace process. Their implementation requires putting in place the true components of peace: primarily, the renunciation of the settlement policy which contradicts the “land for peace” principle and which is in itself a flagrant breach of international law. Peace and settlements are mutually exclusive.

Holy Jerusalem is key to peace. It is an occupied Palestinian territory subject to the application of resolution 242 (1967), which aims at achieving Israeli withdrawal therefrom and from the rest of the Palestinian territories — occupied in 1967 — so that Jerusalem will become the capital of the State of Palestine. In addition, an appropriate formula will have to be worked out to ensure that the entire city of Jerusalem will be open, freedom of worship for all will be safeguarded and the city will be a factor of unity and reconciliation among all believers in God.

The issue of refugees represents the worst form of injustice and frustration in the conflict. Justice must be secured for the Palestinian refugees in order to eliminate the greatest source of frustration and suffering in the region. Jordan, time and again, has made clear its firm position in relation to the question of refugees here in the Assembly. Let me emphasize that Jordan will accept only a solution to the question of refugees that takes fully into account its rights and interests as a State, as well as the rights and interests of its citizens, on the basis of international law and all relevant United Nations resolutions.

Lack of trust between the two sides precludes their ability to achieve any progress without an active involvement by a third party. Jordan welcomes President George W. Bush’s announcement endorsing a solution that ensures the existence of two States, including the establishment of a Palestinian State on the Palestinian territory currently occupied by Israel, in accordance with relevant Security Council resolutions. This announcement completes the international consensus on the fundamental requirement for achieving peace in the region. It is our hope that the United States efforts will continue with support from the countries of the European Union, the Russian Federation and the international community as a whole in order to reach that goal.

A comprehensive peace must include Israeli withdrawal from the occupied Syrian territories to the border of 4 June 1967 and the completion of its withdrawal from the remaining occupied Lebanese territories on the basis of relevant Security Council resolutions.


The Acting President: I call on His Excellency Mr. Manuel Inocêncio Sousa, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Cooperation and Communities of the Republic of Cape Verde.

Mr. Sousa (Cape Verde) (spoke in Portuguese; English text provided by the delegation): ...


The impasse in the search for a lasting solution to the Palestine question, which is primarily a result of the intransigence of Israel and the cycle of violence that has been set in motion, has created one of the most dangerous focal points of tension and a threat to world peace. The implementation of the Oslo Agreement must be resumed. Violence must be brought to an end and the internationally recognized rights of the Palestinians must be respected, including their right to their own State, while guaranteeing the Israeli people the right to live in peace in their country within internationally recognized borders.


The Acting President: I now give the floor to His Excellency Mr. Modibo Sidibe, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Mali.

Mr. Sidibe (Mali) ( spoke in French ): At the outset, I would like to express our condolences to the Governments of the United States and the Dominican Republic, and to the families of the victims of this morning’s tragic plane crash.

In the Middle East, the situation remains of concern because of the persistence of violence in the occupied Palestinian territories. Mali firmly condemns the violence that has been suffered by the Palestinian people, and we believe that Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973), the principle of land for peace and the other relevant resolutions of the United Nations must serve as a basis for negotiations and the establishment of a just, global and lasting peace. We call for the resumption of these negotiations and reaffirm our unfailing attachment to the legitimate rights of the fraternal Palestinian people, including the right to the establishment of an independent State.


The Acting President: I call on Her Excellency Ms. Aïchatou Mindaoudou, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Niger.

Ms. Mindaoudou (Niger) ( spoke in French ): ...


For too long, the international community’s attention has been focused on the Middle East, where repeated efforts to achieve a negotiated settlement of the Israeli-Arab conflict have ended in deadlock. The support of the G-8 for the idea of sending international observers to Palestinian territory is an important step forward; such action would guarantee the impartial application of the recommendations of the Mitchell report.

The Niger would like to reaffirm, here in the Assembly, that a lasting settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict cannot be achieved without the realization by the Palestinian people of their inalienable right to an independent sovereign State. The Niger wholeheartedly supports the position of the United States of America in this regard.


The Acting President: I now give the floor to His Excellency Mr. Abdul Aziz Bin Nasser Al-Shamsi, chairman of the delegation of the United Arab Emirates.

Mr. Al-Shamsi (United Arab Emirates) (spoke in Arabic ): ...


Since 28 September of last year, the occupied Palestinian territories have seen human tragedies and acts of violence because of the policy of State terrorism pursued by Israel against the Palestinian people, including re-occupation of territories, expansion of settlements, escalation of bombing and destruction of economic and physical infrastructure in the Palestinian territories, in addition to systematic liquidation and massacres that have claimed the lives of more than 1,300 martyrs and tens of thousands of other innocent casualties, half of whom are children and women.

The United Arab Emirates warmly welcomes the announcement made by President Bush three days ago in which he committed his country to helping establish peaceful coexistence between two States, Israel and Palestine. Once again, we fully support the right of Palestinians to self-determination and to establish their own independent State with Jerusalem as its capital. In addition, we strongly condemn all flagrant violations by Israel against the brotherly Palestinian people.

We call upon the United Nations — especially the Security Council and its permanent members — in particular the United States, and European Union members to take all necessary and effective measures to avoid bias and double standards and to bring pressure to bear on Israel to end immediately all its terrorist acts of aggression against Palestinians, their towns and holy sites. In this connection, we call for the establishment, without delay, of an international mechanism to provide the necessary protection for the Palestinian people.

The attainment of security and just and comprehensive peace and stability in the Middle East requires that Israel comply strictly with the agreements and protocols it has concluded within the framework of the peace process and relevant resolutions of the United Nations. Those resolutions all call upon Israel to withdraw completely from all Palestinian and other Arab territories it has occupied since 1967, including the Holy City of Jerusalem, the Syrian Arab Golan and the Shab’a farms in Lebanon. They also call for the removal of existing settlements and the return of Palestinian refugees to their homes.

Israel’s possession of prohibited weapons, especially nuclear weapons, is a direct threat to regional and international peace and security. We therefore renew our call on the international community to pressure the Israeli Government to dismantle its dangerous arsenal of weapons. We would also like to emphasize that comprehensive international disarmament, including nuclear disarmament, and improving international mechanisms and arrangements for non-proliferation have top priority in the area of regional and international security concerns. We also call upon nuclear States and States that continue to pursue the acquisition of such weapons to end such dangerous policies, which threaten regional and international peace and security.


The meeting rose at 1.05 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.

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