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The meeting was called to order at 3.05 p.m.
Agenda item 9 (continued)
The President: We shall now continue the general debate.
I give the floor to His Excellency Mr. Lassana Traore, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Mali.
Mr. Traore (Mali) (spoke in French): ...
Mali remains deeply concerned about the dramatic developments of the situation in the Middle East. The responsibility of the international community in dealing with that situation remains a commitment aimed at a global, just and lasting peace in the Middle East — a peace founded on Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973) and the principle of land for peace.
The creation of a Palestinian State — the central issue of the Middle East question — side by side with Israel, within safe and internationally recognized borders, in accordance with Security Council resolution 1397 (2002), would be the best guarantee of a just and lasting peace in the region.
The President: I now give the floor to His Excellency Mr. Fathulla Jameel, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Maldives.
Mr. Jameel (Maldives): ...
Turning to another issue, we have been witnessing an unprecedented deterioration of the situation in Palestine and the Middle East. The Israeli Government has killed the peace process and has driven the region to the brink of war. Its acts of aggression and the use of excessive force, coupled with political assassinations, the destruction of vital installations and infrastructure, blockades and economic suffocation of the Palestinian people, are all designed to frustrate the prospects for an independent Palestinian State. We condemn these dastardly actions and call on the international community to persuade Israel to withdraw from all occupied Palestinian territories and to respect all relevant Security Council resolutions. The Maldives has consistently supported the just struggle of the Palestinian people to regain their inalienable rights and to establish an independent Palestinian State with Al-Quds as its capital.
We believe that the United Nations has an important role to play in bringing the two sides back to the negotiating table. We recognize the efforts of the Quartet, and encourage its members, especially the United States, to remain actively engaged in the search for a just, permanent and lasting peace in the region.
The President: I now give the floor to His Excellency the Honourable Arjon Jung Bahaur Singh, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs of Nepal.
Mr. Singh (Nepal): ...
Even though terrorism is the menace of the moment, other peace and security problems continue to trouble the world. The Middle East is burning and Africa is boiling over with conflict. Tension also abounds elsewhere — in Asia, Europe and Latin America.
To find comprehensive peace in the Middle East, Nepal supports the time-bound implementation of Security Council resolution 1397 (2002) and of the Quartet agreement of April 2002.
The President: Before giving the floor to the next speaker, I must remind all the speakers once again that we had agreed at the beginning of the General Assembly to a time limit of 15 minutes. I strongly appeal to all members to reduce their prepared speeches to correspond to the agreed time limit.
I give the floor to Mr. Ali Abdi Farah, Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Djibouti.
Mr. Farah (Djibouti) (spoke in French): ...
One of the gravest yet often overlooked threats to world peace is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Republic of Djibouti agrees with the Secretary-General that the route to peace in the Middle East was laid out decades ago in Security Council resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973), and, recently, in resolution 1397 (2002), which stipulated the conditions of land for peace, an end to terror and to occupation and two States, Palestine and Israel, living side by side within secure and recognized borders. Unfortunately, the focus has been shifted again by demands for a leadership change in the Palestinian Authority and for political and security reforms, while simultaneously easing Israel’s obligation to return to the negotiating table. The so-called sequential approach has always failed. It is urgent to move forward on all the issues, comprehensively and simultaneously.
To the political impasse should be added the economic destruction that has resulted from the insurmountable checkpoints, roadblocks, repeated incursions and the demolition of buildings and supply networks. The Palestinian people are in danger; a whole nation is virtually living in a prison. There is a growing, unprecedented humanitarian crisis, as stressed by a number of recent reports, describing in detail the levels of malnutrition, the drop-off in child immunization programmes, the increased risk of communicable diseases and runaway, endemic poverty. We remain steadfast in our condemnation of the violence and the killing of innocent civilians, whether they be Palestinians or Israelis. In this context, we welcome the latest plan of the Quartet, which outlines a three-phase road map to a comprehensive final settlement within a three-year period ending in 2005. To complete the process of bringing peace to the Middle East, Syria and Israel must reach an agreement on Israel’s withdrawal to the borders of 1967.
The President: Once again, I appeal to Members to keep to the agreed time limit and to pay attention to the light on the speaker’s table.
The General Assembly will now hear an address by His Excellency Mr. Youssouf Ouédraogo, Minister of State, Foreign Affairs and Regional Cooperation of Burkina Faso.
Mr. Ouédraogo (Burkina Faso) (spoke in French): ...
This year has been particularly bloody in the Middle East. We cannot forget the excesses committed in Jenin and the harassment of President Arafat at Ramallah. The atrocities perpetrated every day against the unarmed Palestinian civilian population are a great cause for concern. Dialogue and negotiation must prevail over confrontation and violence. Burkina Faso reaffirms its support for the creation of an independent Palestinian State, existing side by side with Israel, and we strongly urge the Security Council to ensure that its relevant resolutions are implemented.
The President: I now call on the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Cooperation of Rwanda, His Excellency Mr. André Bumaya.
Mr. Bumaya (Rwanda) (spoke in French): ...
... Furthermore, the Government of Rwanda reiterates its hope that peace will be achieved in the Middle East — a peace that guarantees the creation of a secure Palestinian State with recognized boundaries, coexisting peacefully with the State of Israel, whose security should also be guaranteed.
The Acting President: I now give the floor to the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Central African Republic, Mr. Agba Otikpo Mezode.
Mr. Mezode (Central African Republic) (spoke in French): ...
Faithful to its doctrine, the Central African Republic believes that the situation in the Middle East can be settled only through the strict implementation of the relevant resolutions of the United Nations on this subject. It deplores the escalation of violence in that region.
The Acting President: I now give the floor to the Chairman of the delegation of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, His Excellency Mr. Fawzi Bin Abdul Majeed Shobokshi.
Mr. Shobokshi (Saudi Arabia) (spoke in Arabic): I have the honour to deliver the statement of the Government of Saudi Arabia on behalf of His Royal Highness the Minister for Foreign Affairs.
Thirty-five years have passed since the Palestinian people came under the suffocating Israeli occupation. The cycle of violence in the occupied Palestinian territories will never end unless the legitimate rights of the Palestinians are respected. Those rights have been acknowledged by the international community as a whole and are enshrined in many United Nations resolutions and have become legally binding through various international agreements signed by consecutive Israeli Governments with the Palestinian side.
The obligations contained in those agreements have been completely ignored by the Israelis, whether they relate to the continuation of the occupation or the treatment of the Palestinian people and their legitimate leadership.
The policy of siege, starvation, military incursions, the destruction of property and the desecration of holy places totally contravenes not only signed agreements, but also international law and humanitarian norms.
Furthermore, the Government of Ariel Sharon is marginalizing the Palestinian Authority, established under the Oslo Accords, isolating the Palestinian territories and destroying their infrastructure. In addition, with nothing left to destroy, recently Sharon has implemented a policy not only of imprisoning, but also of assassinating, members of the Palestinian leadership. He recently and blatantly declared that Israel is no longer bound by any agreement signed with the Palestinians, including the Oslo Accords.
The situation in the occupied Palestinian territories will undoubtedly lead to a humanitarian disaster resulting from the economic siege, the unchecked spread of disease and the virtual collapse of public health and security forces.
The most important fact to be recalled by all, particularly the Israeli people, is that the goal of security promised by the current Israeli Government will never materialize. That is due directly to the policies and practices of that Government, which chose to ignore dialogue and negotiations and opted for oppression and violence as a means of resolving the Palestinian problem.
President Bush’s statement to the Assembly concerning the difficulty of attaining peace between the Palestinians and Israelis, without providing the freedom necessary for both, conforms with the current situation in the occupied territories, which continue to face a cycle of violence and suffering because one side, namely the Palestinians, has been denied its right to freedom and independence.
Therefore, the exit point of that dilemma is Israel’s acknowledgement of the importance of the existence of a Palestinian State established on a basis of constitutional legality and capable of conducting negotiations and resolving pending problems that cannot be ignored or bypassed. That is the action that must be taken if we truly intend to put an end to the crisis in the occupied territories, the price of which is being paid by both Palestinians and Israelis.
We believe that an independent Palestinian State, based on a constitution binding on all Palestinians, and specifying the basis and rules governing their relations with Israel, will ultimately constitute a guarantee not only for the Palestinians, but also for the Israelis themselves, because the Israeli side will have the assurance of dealing with a legitimate entity with clear characteristics, structures and institutions. Their future relations will determine their responsibilities. To achieve this goal, the international community must move to end the humanitarian catastrophe and suffering faced by the Palestinian people.
There is also a dire need to halt the violence raging in the area through a practical and dispassionate treatment of the security situation. That clearly means that the international community must hold the Israeli Government accountable to the same level of security obligations that is required of the Palestinian Authority. To limit the security obligations to the Palestinian side alone is neither practical nor a means of solving the problem. It is incumbent on all of us to work together to alleviate the suffering of the Palestinians and to take the necessary practical steps to put the Palestinian problem on the path to the desired settlement.
As far as the comprehensive settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict is concerned, we see in the Arab peace initiative adopted at the Beirut Arab Summit a historic move that contains all the requirements for a just and permanent peace in the Middle East based on resolutions of international legitimacy and supported by all Arab States. It would lead to Israel’s full withdrawal from the occupied Arab territories and to normalization of Arab relations with Israel.
The meeting rose at 6.15 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.