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Press Release
Department of Public Information · News Coverage Service · New York

25 April 1996


The General Assembly this afternoon condemned Israel's attacks on Lebanon's civilian population and called upon it to cease immediately its actions against and withdraw its forces from all Lebanese territory, in accordance with Security Council resolution 425 (1978).

The Assembly took that action by adopting an amended resolution by a vote of 64 in favour to 2 against (Israel, United States), with 65 abstentions. Speaking in explanation of vote, several Member States said they would have voted for the text if it had been more balanced. Lebanon's representative said it was high time that Israel realized that it was not above the law and stopped using Lebanon as a playground for Israeli politics.

By the terms of the resolution, the Assembly called for an immediate cessation of hostilities and expressed support for current efforts towards that end. It called for strict respect for Lebanon's territorial integrity, sovereignty and political independence within its internationally recognized boundaries.

The Assembly considered Israel responsible for compensation to provide Lebanon appropriate redress for the destruction it has suffered. It requested Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali to send a special technical mission to assess and report, within a month, on the human and material losses and damage caused by the hostilities.

Member States were called upon to offer humanitarian assistance to alleviate the suffering of the population and to help the Lebanese Government rebuild the country. The Secretary-General was requested to ensure that the United Nations and its agencies play their part in meeting the population's humanitarian needs.

The action on the resolution was taken after the Assembly accepted an Egyptian amendment to the text's preambular paragraphs. It reaffirmed Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973) and, in particular, the principles of withdrawal from the occupied Arab territories and the right of all States in the region to live in peace and security within their internationally recognized boundaries.

Statements were made by the representatives of the following countries: Russian Federation, Libya, Italy (on behalf of the European Union), Turkey, Canada, Ecuador, Iran, Cyprus, Bolivia, Trinidad and Tobago, Venezuela, Costa Rica, Malta, Albania, Pakistan, Belize and Lebanon.

Assembly Work Programme

The General Assembly met this afternoon to continue its consideration of the situation in the Middle East, and in particular to take a decision regarding draft resolution A/50/L.70, which would condemn Israel for its attacks against Lebanon. (For background, see Press Release GA/9069, issued today.)

The Assembly also had before it an oral amendment to that draft resolution proposed during the morning session by the Russian Federation. It would add a new operative paragraph by which the Assembly would confirm the right of all States in the region to live in peace and security within internationally recognized borders.


NABIL A. ELARABY (Egypt), speaking on behalf of the co-sponsors of the draft resolution, read an oral revision to that text. In preambular paragraph 3, regarding the relevant Security Council resolutions on the situation in Lebanon, the word "recalling" was replaced by "reaffirming". The following new preambular paragraph 4 was added: "Reaffirming also the United Nations Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973) and in particular the principles of withdrawal from the occupied Arab territories and the right of all States in the region to live in peace and security within their internationally recognized boundaries".

He appealed to all Member States to consider the gravity of the situation in Lebanon and to vote for the draft resolution as a whole.

General Assembly President DIOGO FREITAS DO AMARAL (Portugal) said it was his understanding that the Russian Federation did not insist that its oral amendment be acted upon.

SERGEY V. LAVROV (Russian Federation), speaking before the vote, recalled the statement made by his delegation that what was going on in Lebanon was unacceptable and that it might have negative consequences for the Middle East peace process. Unquestionably, his delegation would have preferred a more balanced draft reflecting all aspects of the situation in Lebanon. He regretted the haste with which the draft was introduced. His delegation would vote for the draft. The Russian Federation had consistently called on all the parties in the conflict to show restraint. As co-sponsor of the Middle East peace process, Russia insisted that Israel and Lebanon should get down to negotiations.

The PRESIDENT announced that the following countries had joined in the sponsorship of the draft resolution: Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Brunei Darussalam. Pakistan was no longer a co-sponsor.

The resolution was then adopted by a vote of 64 in favour to 2 against (Israel, United States), with 65 abstentions.

MOHAMED MATRI (Libya) said he had voted for the draft resolution. It should be understood that the action did not mean Libya recognized the Zionist entity. A true, just and noble peace could only be achieved once a non-racial society, like South Africa, was established in Palestine.

FRANCESCO PAOLO FULCI (Italy), speaking on behalf of the European Union and Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Lithvania, Malta, Poland, Romania and the Slovak Republic, said the Union had clearly expressed its position in a declaration adopted by its Foreign Ministers in Luxembourg. The declaration had called for the immediate cessation of hositilies and emphasized that only a political solution would allow the peace process to take its course. All 15 members of the European Union and the associated States had decided to abstain in the vote. They insisted that all the parties involved immediately end the hostilities.

HUSEYIN E. CELEM (Turkey) said the implementation of Security Council resolution 425 (1978) was vital to peace in the Middle East, but terrorism was also the biggest obstacle to the peace process. He had abstained because the resolution did not make reference to that fact.

RALPH D. JANSEN (Canada) said he had abstained, but he urged that there be a cease-fire and a long-term settlement to the conflict. He deplored the loss of lives in Lebanon and attacks on United Nations personnel. He reaffirmed the right of all States to live in peace in the region.

EMILIO IZQUIERDO (Ecuador) said he had abstained because the resolution did not reflect all aspects of the peace process. He rejected the use of violence and terrorism in international relations.

ESHAGH AL-HABIB (Iran) said he had voted in favour of the resolution, but expressed reservations about any part of the text that may have suggested recognition of the State of Israel.

NICOS AGATHOCLEOUS (Cyprus) said his delegation had voted in favour of the text. It strongly supported respect for the sovereignty of all States in the region and their right to exist in peace. Peace and stability should be established in the Middle East. The peace process should proceed without interruption.

EDGAR CAMACHO-OMISTE (Bolivia) said he had voted in favour of the draft.

YVONNE GITTENS-JOSEPH (Trinidad and Tobago) said she would have preferred a more balanced draft. Trinidad and Tobago endorsed the statement by Jamaica yesterday on behalf of the States of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). It was hoped that the peace process would continue.

ENRIQUE TEJERA-PARIS (Venezuela) urged full implementation of the recent Security Council resolution and 425 (1978). Venezuela categorically rejected terrorism. It regretted that the draft was not balanced and that it was introduced hastily.

JOSÉ MANUEL GUTIERREZ (Costa Rica) said he had voted in favour of the resolution on principle. He did not believe that armed interventions were an appropriate means of conflict resolution. Terrorism, including terrorist provocation in Lebanon, was also one of the greatest evils of the current age.

JOSEPH CASSAR (Malta) said he had abstained for lack of a more balanced text. He believed in the rights of all people in the Middle East to live in freedom and within secure and recognized boundaries. In addition, the violence in the region must come to an end.

PELLUMB KULLA (Albania) said he had abstained. He was against terrorism and also supported the full implementation of Security Council resolution 425 (1978).

AHMAD KAMAL (Pakistan) said he had voted in favour of the resolution. His support would have been stronger had the text not been subjected to the addition of the new preambular paragraph 4, which diluted the focus of the resolution.

EDWARD A. LAING (Belize) said he would have voted in favour of the resolution had he been present at the time of the voting.

SAMIR MOUBARAK (Lebanon) said the General Assembly had clearly denounced Israel as the aggressor. Now, it was up to Israel to abide by the will of the international community in ceasing its attacks against Lebanon and its civilian populations. The Assembly had also considered that Lebanon was entitled to appropriate redress for the destruction it had suffered and that Israel was responsible for the payment of compensation. If Israel wanted peace, it had to abide by the land-for-peace equation of the Madrid peace conference. Israel could not escape its international obligations. Security Council resolution 425 (1978) had to be implemented fully and immediately.

He said that today a whole family of nine had been killed. It was high time that Israel understood that it was not above the law. It was high time Israel stopped using Lebanon as playground for Israeli politics. What was going on in Lebanon was resistance against foreign occupation.


Vote on Israeli Military Attacks against Lebanon

The draft resolution on the Israeli military attacks against Lebanon and their consequences (document A/50/L.70) was adopted by a recorded vote of 64 in favour to 2 against, with 65 abstentions, as follows:

In favour: Afghanistan, Algeria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Bhutan, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, China, Colombia, Comoros, Costa Rica, Cuba, Cyprus, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Djibouti, Egypt, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, India, Indonesia, Iran, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Lebanon, Libya, Malaysia, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Qatar, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Syria, Tajikistan, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Against: Israel, United States.

Abstaining: Albania, Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Barbados, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Canada, Chile, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Estonia, Fiji, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kazakstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malawi, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mexico, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Romania, Samoa, San Marino, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, Spain, Swaziland, Sweden, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Uruguay, Venezuela.

Absent: Angola, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, Dominica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Federated States of Micronesia, Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Iraq, Latvia, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Maldives, Mali, Mauritania, Mongolia, Nicaragua, Niger, Palau, Panama, Republic of Moldova, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Togo, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Yugoslavia, Zaire.

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