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Source: Department of Public Information (DPI)
26 September 2008


26 September 2008
General Assembly
GA/10756

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

Sixty-third General Assembly
Plenary
11th & 12th Meetings (AM & PM)


WORLD LEADERS REAFFIRM CENTRAL ROLE OF UNITED NATIONS IN CRAFTING
GLOBAL RESPONSE TO CURRENT FOOD, FUEL, FINANCIAL CRISES
 
Uncertain Times Call for Revitalized General Assembly,
Security Council, Ministers Say, as 36 Speakers Address Debate

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Also addressing the Assembly was the President of the Palestinian Authority. 

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Background 

The General Assembly met today to continue its annual general debate.

Statements 

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GABRIEL NTISEZERANA, Second Vice-President of Burundi...

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... The United Nations was mobilizing resources, but the way forward remained long, and “bloody conflict” remained in Somalia, Iraq and the wider Middle East, among other areas...

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GORDON BROWN, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom...

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On other international issues, he said the United Nations must help the next Government of Israel build on the foundations of current talks to agree on a two-State solution, which guaranteed Israel’s security and gave Palestinians a viable State. ...

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BRUCE GOLDING, Prime Minister of Jamaica...

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... He expressed Jamaica’s concern regarding the many serious crises throughout the world, and called for strong actions to address and resolve the Middle East conflict, and the persistent humanitarian crisis in Darfur. ...

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MAHMOUD ABBAS, President of the Palestinian Authority, said he would have liked to have announced a comprehensive agreement had been achieved between the Palestinians and Israel that ended Israeli occupation of its land since 1967.  He believed the entire world shared his desire to set the necessary guidelines and principles for the advancement of negotiating towards the conclusion of a comprehensive and complete agreement on all final status issues.  The Annapolis Conference, held last year, had emphasized the need for the removal of all obstacles that had impeded the negotiating process. 

The main obstacle was the Israeli settlement campaign and its continuation throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory, particularly in East Jerusalem.  All participants in Annapolis had taken a united, firm and unprecedented stand calling for the immediate cessation of illegal settlement activities.  The participation of most Arab countries had shown the desire to support the political process, based on the Arab Peace Initiative, adopted by the Arab Summit in Beirut more than six years ago. 

He renewed his call to all parties, including Israel, regional and international Powers, to seize the opportunity provided by the Arab Peace Initiative.  In this context, he fully supported the indirect negotiations taking place between Syria and Israel with the help of Turkey.  The Authority would continue to negotiate towards a comprehensive peace that would end decades of occupation and hostilities, and attain the two-State solution –- the State of Palestine living alongside the State of Israel on the basis of the 1967 borders.  That would include the achievement of a just and agreed solution to the plight of the Palestine refugees. 

Partial or interim solutions, or the dropping or deferral of certain core issues would be unacceptable and unviable, and would maintain the roots of the conflict, he continued.  The solution must also include a mechanism to ensure its full and honest implementation according to an agreed-upon timetable.  That required supervision of the solution’s implementation, and a more effective role of the diplomatic Quartet to safeguard the solution, as well as an effective guarantor role of the Security Council and various United Nations bodies. 

As he noted the upcoming sixtieth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, he said the conditions endured by the Palestinians were increasingly severe and complex.  The territory suffered from fragmentation and contiguity between its cities and villages was being undermined, as a result of more than 609 checkpoints and roadblocks on all main and secondary roads.  The continuing siege and isolation of the Gaza Strip was deepening the tragic humanitarian crisis, where unemployment was endemic and the opportunities of education and medical care were few.  Gaza had become a virtual prison for 1.5 million Palestinians, he said. 

He reaffirmed that his Government would spare no effort to achieve Palestinian national reconciliation and unity, and to that end, had announced a preliminary plan that opened the door for reconciliation and the formation of an independent, impartial Government that was acceptable to all.  Further, the Government would prepare for legislative and presidential elections, and continue rebuilding the security apparatus based on professional tenets, with the support of Arab security.  After completing that step, it would be possible to proceed with strengthening reconciliation and deepening the participation of all. 

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LAWRENCE GONZI, Prime Minister of Malta...

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... He acknowledged the peace efforts in Cyprus, the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, the indirect negotiations between Israel and Syria with Turkish mediation, the formation of a national unity Government in Lebanon and improved relations between Lebanon and Syria.  He urged all Member States to support the efforts of the Secretary-General and the diplomatic Quartet in resolving the issue of Palestine refugees and the permanent status of Jerusalem, as well as issues of settlements, borders and water and security in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. 

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ABBAS EL FASSI, Prime Minister of Morocco...

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Turning to the Middle East, he said that Morocco encouraged all initiatives aiming to bring peace to the region, with respect to international legality and the agreements previously reached, namely the Road Map and the Arab Peace Initiative.  The latter represented a realistic solution reflecting the commitment of Arab countries to reach a fair, global and lasting solution, which, once Israel retreated from the Arab territories, would allow the Palestinian population to establish an independent State. 

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AHMED TIDIANE SOUARÉ, Prime Minister of Guinea...

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With regard to international peace, despite a significant reduction in the number of armed conflicts, many dangers remained.  The legitimate war against blind and illegitimate terrorism did not present any reassuring outlooks, the anachronistic Israeli-Palestinian conflict persisted and tensions related to nuclear weapons control darkened the horizon, raising legitimate fear in vulnerable countries.  Moreover, the current food crisis posed an urgent challenge, which required a rapid response on various levels.  Those serious phenomena required global action, he said. 

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JÁN KUBIŠ, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Slovakia...

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Making reference to recent developments in Georgia and the Middle East, he noted his support for pursuing peace while observing international law, sovereignty, territorial integrity and without the use of force and unilateral action. ...

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For information media • not an official record

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