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Source: General Assembly
22 September 2006


General Assembly
GA/10506

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

Sixty-first General Assembly
Plenary
16th & 17th Meetings (AM & PM)


HALTING CLIMATE CHANGE NO LONGER CHOICE BUT IMPERATIVE; FAILURE TO DO SO

RISKS UNDERMINING PROSPERITY, SECURITY WORLDWIDE, GENERAL ASSEMBLY TOLD

Iraq Updates Security Situation, China Promotes Adherence
To Global Non-Proliferation Regime, as General Debate Continues


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Background

The General Assembly met today to continue the general debate of its sixty-first session.  For background, see Press Release GA/10500 of 19 September.

Statements

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JALAL TALABANI, President of Iraq, ...

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He said the brotherly State of Lebanon and “its proud people” had been exposed to the destruction of the Israel military onslaught.  In that regard, he called for the implementation of the international resolutions and for resolving the Palestinian issue, which was at the core of the “chronic conflict”.  Limiting the global war on terrorism to the sole use of military means was not sufficient to defeat the scourge.  Political and economic means and tools had to be explored.  Iraq had a vision of a Middle East free of weapons of mass destruction.  It was itself devoid of any type of weapons of mass destruction as confirmed in the reports of the last United Nations team.  ...

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MARGARET BECKETT, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs of United Kingdom, said the United Nations faced challenges posed by multiple upheavals and crises across the world.  In the Middle East, the United Nations was playing a vital role in establishing stability in southern Lebanon.  All Member States must meet their obligations under Council resolutions 1701, 1559 and 1680, if Lebanon was to be the proud, democratic and diverse nation that its people wanted it to be.  The conflict, however, had its roots in the continuing failure to achieve a just solution to the Palestinian question.  There could be no higher priority than reinvigorating the Middle East peace process.

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LI ZHAOXING, Minister of Foreign Affairs of China, ...

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China opposed any move that would undermine peace and stability in the Middle East region and called for a cessation of hostilities between Lebanon and Israel.  The issue of Palestine was at the core of the Middle East issue, he said.  The peace process should be restarted in keeping with the relevant United Nations resolutions and the principle of “land for peace”.

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PER STIG MØLLER, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Denmark, ...

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The resurgence of the notion of respect for national sovereignty as a justification for inaction was a cause for concern, he said. Respect for sovereignty could never become an excuse for accepting massive human rights violations.  That was the key message from the World Summit last year, when Heads of State pronounced their support for the notion of responsibility to protect.  He noted the intervention of the Security Council in August to stop the war between Hizbollah and Israel, and to send thousands of peacekeepers to help the Lebanese Government extend its authority to all parts of the country.  He called on all regional players to work constructively towards that goal, and urged the parties to the conflict to respect fully resolution 1701.  The war between Hizbollah and Israel had proved the volatility of the Middle East.  In order to address the Arab-Israeli conflict, which continued to breed hatred and fanaticism, it was necessary to support moderate reform forces and redouble efforts to achieve a comprehensive and lasting two-State solution.

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YOUSEF BIN ALAWI BIN ABDULLAH, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Oman, said that his country supported the Arab League’s call to refer the entire Arab-Israeli conflict to the United Nations Security Council, in order to find a lasting and comprehensive peaceful settlement.  That call affirmed the Arab State’s keenness and its adherence to peace as a strategic option and as a basis for peaceful coexistence between the Arab countries and State of Israel.  The world had recently witnessed the tragedy of the Israeli invasion of Lebanon, and he welcomed Security Council resolution 1701, in the hope that it would bring security and stability to the region.  He was also was concerned about the deteriorating security situation and internal violence inside Iraq, and called on all the Iraqi parties to support their national Government.

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FRANK-WALTER STEINMEIER, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Germany, ...

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He said that, in the Middle East, it was crucial, following the Council resolution on Lebanon, that the opportunity to promote understanding be seized.  He called on all parties to the conflict in the region to act responsibly.  The principles for a settlement were clear:  Israel’s right to exist and the establishment of a Palestinian State.  However, in order to ensure lasting success, everything had to be done to include everyone involved, even if that appeared to be a roundabout way.  He, therefore, hoped that Syria could be persuaded to engage in a constructive dialogue.  In Afghanistan, drug cultivation and the security situation posed a threat to progress made.  The international community could not allow the successes to date to again be destroyed.

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ABDULLAH GÜL, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey, said that recent events in Lebanon had confirmed that unilateralism was not the answer to the Middle East conflict, and hoped that countries in the region would live up to the spirit behind resolution 1701 (2006).  Also, allowing the question of Palestine to continue unresolved had helped to justify extremism around the world; the time had come to revive the peace process.  ...

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JEAN ASSELBORN, Vice Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Immigration of Luxembourg, said that reasons for hope and concern co-existed in the current world situation.  The Middle East remained torn by profound political, military, socio-economic and cultural tensions, of which the military confrontation in Lebanon and the bombardments of northern Israel were only the most recent example.  It was necessary to consolidate the ceasefire and create the basis of a sustainable political process, whose principle elements were defined by Security Council resolution 1701 (2006).   Also necessary was to support the emergence of a fully sovereign and independent Lebanon that could exercise a monopoly on the armed forces throughout its territory.  All regional actors should contribute to that process.  The lack of true peace in the region negatively affected the civilian population, particularly in the occupied territories, where the humanitarian situation was getting worse by the day.  It was evident that a military or unilateral solution to the persistent conflicts in the region was not possible. 

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Shaikh KHALID BIN AHMED BIN MOHAMED AL-KHALIFA, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bahrain, ...

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He warned that the recent events in the Middle East had driven the entire region to a dangerous abyss.  He identified the principle of land for peace and the Arab Peace Initiative and expressed deep concern at the bloody events caused by Israeli military operations in Lebanon.  He supported Security Council resolution 1701, and noted that Bahrain stood against anything endangering Lebanon’s security.  He also called for the avoidance of any acts outside Lebanese State authority that endangered its stability, and reiterated the need for Israel to withdraw fully from Arab territories occupied since 1967, to allow the return of Palestinian refugees and to establish a Palestinian State on all occupied Palestinian lands with Jerusalem as its capital.

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DORA BAKOYANNIS, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Greece, ...

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She said that the Middle East was the region that would test the Organization’s mettle as a force for peace in the immediate future.  The Israeli-Palestinian conflict was at the root of most of that region’s problems and should obviously be at the top of the list of priorities for restoring peace and stability.  It was important to make every effort to implement the Middle East “Road Map” and resolution 1701.  It was also critical that every effort be made to bring order and unity to Iraq.  All who had any influence with the warring factions must make them see what pain and suffering they had inflicted on their own people and what worse horrors they would unleash if they continued to drift toward a devastating civil war. 

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GEORGE YEO, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Singapore, said that the war in Lebanon had had no clear victor but, without the intervention of the United Nations, more lives would have been lost.  He reminded Israel and Palestine that no side could achieve absolute security and took note of the establishment of a new balance across the Middle East.  ...

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ALBERTO ROMULO, Secretary of Foreign Affairs of the Philippines, ...

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The Philippines welcomed the Quartet’s call this week for greater progress towards peace in the Middle East, he said.  It strongly supported the Road Map, and remained hopeful that a democratic Israel and a democratic Palestine could live side by side.  ...

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YOUSSOUF OUEDRAOGO, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Burkina Faso, ... As for the Middle East, Burkina Faso hoped for a lasting peace that restored the sovereignty of Lebanon, liberty to the Palestinian people and security to Israel. 

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MOHAMED BENAISSA, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Morocco, said that the many conflicts, wars and economic and social crises in the Middle East and Africa had thwarted peoples’ natural aspiration for stability and development.  Having welcomed the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza as the first step towards establishing a Palestinian State, Morocco hoped that the current degrading situation, which had led to even more killing and destruction, be rapidly put to an end.  It called on the international community, and the Security Council in particular, to work for a global and lasting solution to the conflict.  It hoped that all concerned parties would cooperate to provide the appropriate political conditions for a lasting settlement on the basis of the Taif Agreement and relevant Council resolutions.  It also called on the international community to provide more cooperation and solidarity for the reconstruction of Lebanon and peace efforts.

He said Morocco was still hoping for an end to the ongoing tension that continued to bring suffering to innocent civilians in Iraq, and hoped that its Iraqi brothers could agree, as soon as possible, on the time and venue of the conference for the Iraqi national accord.  Morocco reiterated its commitment to work for a fair and global peace in the Middle East, which was dependent upon the withdrawal of Israel from all occupied Arab territories and the establishment of a Palestinian State, with Jerusalem as its capital, living side by side in peace and security with Israel.  Resorting to force, whatever the reasons, would not succeed in imposing workable solutions or achieving fair, lasting and global peace in the Middle East, it would only serve to exacerbate the existing status quo.

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FAWZI BIN ABDUL MAJEED SHOBOKSHI ( Saudi Arabia) said that the Middle East was in the midst of “a very dangerous phase”, with Israel’s occupation of Arab lands in Palestine, Syria and Lebanon; a volatile situation along the Lebanese-Israeli border; instability and sectarian violence in Iraq; and Iran’s nuclear programme.  The key to resolving those crises was to invigorate the Middle East peace process and to reach a just and durable settlement of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, “the most enduring international conflict today”.

He said the peace process had suffered greatly from double standards and imbalanced obligations.  Reviving it required serious international cooperation and a fundamental change in approach.  That meant creating an effective mechanism for negotiations to address all final status issues.  Thirty-nine years after Security Council resolution 242 had been adopted, calling upon Israel to withdraw from all territories occupied in 1967, Palestinians remained deprived of their right to self-determination and the right to live in an independent State with Arab Jerusalem as its capital.  A two-State solution could come about within “a reasonable time frame.”

Saudi Arabia reaffirmed its full support for the Lebanese Government, as it sought to extend its authority over its entire territory, he said.  All parties must remain committed to Security Council resolution 1701 (2006).  He called for the rapid Israeli withdrawal form the Shebaa Farms area.  “One of the reasons that Lebanon is a victim of repeated Israeli invasions, totalling seven so far, is that we did not hold the aggressor accountable”, he said.

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Proliferation of nuclear weapons seriously undermined the security of all countries, either in the hands of States or of terror groups, he warned.  Obligations set out in international treaties and conventions would be useless if they were not fully observed.  Halting proliferation required an end to double standards and the creation of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East, including the Gulf.  Israel was the only country in the region known to have weapons of mass destruction, yet it was subjected to no form of monitoring.  With regard to Iran, all countries had a right to the peaceful use of nuclear energy.  Iran’s repeated statements that its nuclear programme was peaceful provided a strong basis for negotiations, which had not yet been exhausted.

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For information media • not an official record

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