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The meeting was called to order at 10.15 a.m.
The Acting President : On behalf of the General Assembly, I have the honour to welcome to the United Nations His Excellency Mr. Denis Sassou-Nguesso, President of the Republic of the Congo, and to invite him to address the Assembly.
President Nguesso (spoke in French ): ...
The absence of peace — war and insecurity — is gravely undermining humanity. Unfortunately, no region in the world has been spared. Because of irrationality, the Middle East, a veritable powder keg, is unravelling before us. The international community must become further involved in the talks between Palestinian and Israelis in order to put an end to the cycle of violence that has ravaged that part of the world for so long.
The Acting President: On behalf of the General Assembly, I have the honour to welcome to the United Nations His Excellency Mr. Marc Ravalomanana, President of the Republic of Madagascar, and to invite him to address the Assembly.
President Ravalomanana(spoke in French): ...
The persistence of areas of tension and conflict around the world, especially the Middle East, demands the reinvigoration of the United Nations to make it more effective in responding to the needs of the international community, particularly in maintaining international peace and security. To pursue this critical objective, we must now more than ever strengthen our efforts to make the Security Council more democratic, more representative and more transparent.
Agenda item 9 (continued)
The Acting President : I have great pleasure in welcoming His Excellency Mr. Junichiro Koizumi, Prime Minister of Japan, and inviting him to address the General Assembly.
Mr. Koizumi (Japan): ...
In the Middle East, it is crucial that the vision of the peaceful coexistence of Israel and an independent Palestinian State materialize as early as possible. Japan will assist the reform of the Palestinian Authority, which is aimed at the establishment of a new State by the Palestinian people. We will do so particularly by providing technical assistance for democratization. Elections by the Palestinians are the first step towards nation-building and I believe that the international community should extend assistance to ensure their success. However, putting an end to the vicious circle of violence remains our most urgent task. Japan resolutely condemns terrorist acts by Palestinian extremists and strongly urges Israel to immediately withdraw its troops to the line of September 2000, halt its military operations and lift the economic closures in the autonomous areas.
The President : I have great pleasure in welcoming His Excellency The Right Honourable Sir Anerood Jugnauth, Prime Minister of the Republic of Mauritius, and inviting him to address the General Assembly.
Sir Anerood Jugnauth (Mauritius): ...
The Middle East is still not at peace. The death toll rises every day, but we are encouraged by the signals being sent by both the Israelis and the Palestinian leadership. Our vision of the Middle East is to see the early establishment of a Palestinian State living side by side with Israel on the basis of agreed and secure boundaries. The Palestinians also need to have State machinery that observes the fundamental norms of a democratic system, with responsibility and accountability on the part of the leaders. They alone have the absolute right to elect their leaders when elections are held in January 2003.
The President: I have great pleasure in welcoming His Excellency Mr. Silvio Berlusconi, Prime Minister of the Italian Republic, and inviting him to address the General Assembly.
Mr. Berlusconi (Italy): ...
Let me now turn our attention to the Middle East. Italy supports the road map drawn up by the European Union, as well as the action of the “quartet” and the rapid convening of an international conference to ensure the peaceful coexistence of two independent States within safe and secure borders.
First of all, the spiral of violence must come to an end through the cessation of terrorist attacks. The holding of free and fair elections will advance the process of democratic reform of the Palestinian National Authority. But a lasting peace cannot be envisaged unless we narrow the economic gap between the Israelis and the Palestinians, giving the Palestinians realistic hope for jobs and development. With this goal in mind, Italy has presented a plan to rebuild and support the Palestinian economy. Italy has already offered to host the negotiations and the peace conference.
We are men and women of peace. We are convinced that this new century cannot be left at the mercy of criminal folly and fanaticism. We are committed to the fight against terrorism, and we will do everything in our power to eradicate that evil and to defend our security and our future. We will lend our efforts to the building of a true and just peace, the only kind of peace for the just and the free.
The President: I now call on His Excellency Mr. Joseph Deiss, the Federal Councillor and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Switzerland.
Mr. Deiss (Switzerland) (spoke in French ): ...
In its capacity as the Depositary State, Switzerland feels a special responsibility to promote awareness of and respect for the Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocols. At the United Nations, we will continue tirelessly to defend these instruments. In this area, Switzerland has submitted to a number of countries involved in the Middle East conflict a proposal which aims to ensure the better implementation of international humanitarian law. We advocate two mechanisms: one for promoting dialogue to allow the parties to settle problems concerning the application of international humanitarian law; the second, a mechanism to monitor respect for humanitarian law.
The meeting rose at 1.25 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.