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


Fifty-eighth General Assembly
Plenary
17th & 18th Meetings (AM & PM)
GA/10163
30 September 2003

GENERAL ASSEMBLY HEARS CALLS FOR MULTILATERAL APPROACH AS MOST EFFECTIVE WAY TO COMBAT TERRORISM, ACHIEVE DEVELOPMENT


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Background

The General Assembly met today to continue its general debate.

Statements

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SIMEON DE SAXE-COBOURG, Prime Minister of Bulgaria, ...

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Also of concern was the deteriorating situation in the Middle East, he continued.  The Road Map remained valid and must be implemented by all concerned parties.  The Palestinians must adhere to the obligation to stop suicide attacks, while Israel must stop extrajudicial killings and renounce its decision to expel Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat.

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SOMSAVAT LENGSAVAD, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, ...

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The war in Iraq had severely tested the principle of collective security and the resilience of the Organization, he said.  The Security Council must play its full role in securing international peace and security.  Also of concern were the continued economic, commercial, and financial restrictions on Cuba, the ongoing violence and disproportionate use of force in the Middle East, and recent developments on the Korean peninsula.  ...

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JAN PETERSEN, Foreign Minister of Norway, ...

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Considerable progress had been made in peacekeeping around the world, although Afghanistan still faced a challenging task, he said.  In Sri Lanka, he was hopeful that the parties would embark on negotiations towards an interim administration in the north-east province.  Elsewhere, 2003 was a tragic year for Israel and Palestinians, with renewed violence determining the course of developments.  Norway urged Israel to ease the living conditions of the Palestinians.

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SURAKIART SATHIRATHAI, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Thailand, said the United Nations had indeed come, as the Secretary-General had said, “to a fork in the road” on the way to a multilateral system and the assurance of a better world.  At such a critical juncture, the international community must learn to live with and tolerate differences, in terms of religion, culture and values, through the promotion of true partnership and human security.  While the international community could be proud of having forged partnerships for peacekeeping operations from Timor-Leste to Sierra Leone to Bosnia and Herzegovina, it must do more to address the conflict in the Middle East.  For its part, Thailand remained as committed to reconstruction efforts in Iraq as it had been to those in Timor-Leste and Afghanistan.

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BIOSSEY KOKOU TOZOUN, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Togo, ...

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Regarding the conflict in the Middle East, he encouraged both sides to reach a settlement, which would take into account the right of Israelis to live with security within recognized international borders and the right of the Palestinian people to have their own State.  ...

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HIDIPO HAMUTENYA, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Namibia, ...

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... One of the issues that underlined the need for urgent reform of the Council was the “pathetic inability” of that body to bring the authority of the United Nations to bear on the situation in the Middle East.  Due to a lack of will in the Council, it had not been able to act collectively to put a stop to the carnage.  The end of occupation and the establishment of a Palestinian State, existing side by side with Israel, were key to peace and stability in the region.

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HOR NAMHONG, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Cambodia, said the world faced four key challenges:  Iraq, the Middle East, terrorism and poverty.  Given the fragile and unstable situation in Iraq, the United Nations must assume a critical role in restoring stability during this transitional period, and Iraq should be allowed to govern itself as soon as possible through free and fair elections.  All parties to the Middle East conflict, particularly Israel and Palestine, should continue to pursue a peaceful solution based on the Road Map, both sides should have “a sense of political realism” and a shared determination to realize peace.  Also, the international community must remain fully committed to supporting the Middle East peace process.  ...

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FRANCISCO GUERRERO PRATS, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs of the Dominican Republic, ...

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He described his country’s humanitarian assistance to Iraq, which aimed to contribute to a secure and stable environment, leading to the restoration of sovereignty of the Iraqi people.  He also voiced his continued support for the Road Map peace plan.  ...

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HENRY F. CHIMUNTHU BANDA, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Malawi, ...

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In terms of peace and security, he said the launch of the Road Map peace plan earlier this year had been heartening, but it was regrettable to see its implementation frustrated by elements that did not wish to see peace dominate in the Middle East.  ...

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