12 September 2000


Press Release
GA/9750/



OPENING SESSION OF MILLENNIUM SUMMIT HEARS STATEMENTS BY 19 HEADS OF STATE, 10 HEADS OF GOVERNMENT, TWO VICE-PRESIDENTS

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CORRECTION

The statement of the Representative of Syria, which appears on pages 21 and 22 of Press Release GA/9750 of 6 September, should read as follows:

FAROUK AL-SHARA, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Syria: The Syrian people, with their ancient civilization and heritage of human values, look forward to the new millennium with new optimism. They looked forward to opening a new chapter, in which humanity will be spared the huge cost it was forced to pay in bloodshed and suffering throughout history, particularly in the twentieth century. Unfortunately, the wars in the last century coincided with the most advanced achievements in human history. Scientific and technological advancements must be the means to better mankind and not the means to destroy them. The other challenge today is globalization. If it is well managed, we will benefit from opening the doors previously closed to our populations.

This Millennium Summit should seriously address two important issues. First, the elimination of foreign occupation and the return of refugees to their homes. That requires an end to the Israeli occupation of the Syrian Golan and Arab Jerusalem to the line of 4 June 1967. Second, eliminating nuclear weapons and accepting the universality of the non-proliferation treaty. It is important to transform the Middle East into a region free of all weapons of mass destruction.

The role of the United Nations in all the fundamental issues faced by the Millennium Summit remains of paramount importance. In confronting the problems facing the international community, it is clear that solutions cannot be achieved by unilateral efforts, but require collective efforts. It is high time to realize that the era of brute force has passed. The experience of South Africa in ending apartheid and the recent experience of South Lebanon in defeating the (Israeli) occupying force prove that had wisdom prevailed with the other side from the beginning of the conflict, the same end-result would have been reached, but with fewer victims, in a shorter time and with much less suffering on both sides.

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