PEACEKEEPING CAPACITY OF ‘WAR-RAVAGED’ AFRICAN CONTINENT MUST BE ENHANCED, FOURTH COMMITTEE TOLD, AS IT CONCLUDES PEACEKEEPING DEBATE

24 October 2002
GA/SPD/247

PEACEKEEPING CAPACITY OF ‘WAR-RAVAGED’ AFRICAN CONTINENT MUST BE ENHANCED, FOURTH COMMITTEE TOLD, AS IT CONCLUDES PEACEKEEPING DEBATE

24/10/2002
Press ReleaseGA/SPD/247

Fifty-seventh General Assembly

Fourth Committee

15th Meeting (PM)

PEACEKEEPING CAPACITY OF ‘WAR-RAVAGED’ AFRICAN CONTINENT MUST BE ENHANCED,

FOURTH COMMITTEE TOLD, AS IT CONCLUDES PEACEKEEPING DEBATE

Approves Text Designating 29 May International Day of UN Peacekeepers

As one of the most war-ravaged continents, Africa’s peacekeeping capacity must be enhanced, the Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization) was told, as it concluded its consideration of the comprehensive review of the whole question of peacekeeping this afternoon.

The representative of Nigeria said that enhancing the capacity of Africa's traditional troop-contributing countries to provide equipped, trained and high-quality peacekeepers must be one of the major preoccupations of the Committee, the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the entire United Nations system.  As a major stakeholder and troop-contributor, the issue of restructuring the Department was particularly important to Nigeria.  Reforms had enabled the Department to be better staffed, equipped and prepared to carry out its onerous task of supporting peacekeeping and peace support operations.  Against the heavy investment made by Member States in strengthening and enhancing its capacity, however, a critical evaluation of the Department’s gains was needed.

Senegal’s representative highlighted the need to strengthen cooperation between the United Nations, the African Union and subregional organizations in the areas of conflict prevention, management and resolution.  The African continent continued to witness tensions and conflicts severely limiting its potential for economic development.  In that regard, the international community needed to support the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), which gave priority to the promotion of peace and good governance.

Developing Africa’s peacekeeping capacity would require greater resources and attention, Malawi’s representative said.  At the operational level, the Department’s staff must be infused with African military and policy experts.  There was also a compelling need to shift from a culture of reaction to one of prevention through vigilance and rapid deployment.  The culture of prevention must, he said, be institutionalized within the framework of the United Nations system and regional cooperation.

Following the conclusion of its peacekeeping debate, the Fourth Committee also approved a draft resolution on the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers.  By the terms of the text, the General Assembly would decide to designate 29 May as the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers.  [The

Day marks the establishment of the first United Nations peacekeeping operation --

the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization in the Middle East -- on 29 May 1948.]

According to the terms of the draft resolution, approved without a vote, the International Day would be observed annually to pay tribute to all men and women who have served and continue to serve in United Nations peacekeeping operations for their high level of professionalism, dedication and courage.  It would also honour the memory of those who have lost their lives in the cause of peace.

At the conclusion of today’s debate, the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Jean-Marie Guéhenno said that many of the countries represented in the Committee had paid a heavy tribute to peacekeeping in the past 50 years.  Peacekeeping was the most concrete expression of the solidarity of nations represented at the United Nations.  Its legitimacy and strengths depended on that solidarity.  While progress had been achieved, peacekeeping was an unfinished business and would always be so, because the challenges at hand would not disappear.

The representatives of Syria, Cyprus, Guatemala, Nepal, Yugoslavia, Slovakia, and Sri Lanka also spoke in the general debate this afternoon.

Speaking in the exercise of the right of reply were the representatives of Israel, Turkey, Lebanon, Syria and Cyprus.

The Committee will meet again at 3 p.m. Tuesday, 29 October, to begin its consideration of questions relating to information.

Background

As the Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization) met this afternoon, it was expected to conclude its general debate of the comprehensive review of the whole question of peacekeeping operations.  [For background information, see Press Release GA/SPD/244 of 18 October 2002.]

The Committee had before it a draft resolution on the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers (document A/C.4/57/L.8).  By the terms of the text, the General Assembly would decide to designate 29 May as the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers.  [Security Council resolution 50 (1948) of 29 May 1948 authorized the establishment of the first United Nations peacekeeping operation.  2003 will mark the fifty-fifth anniversary of United Nations peacekeeping.]

By the terms of the text, the International Day would be observed annually to pay tribute to all men and women who have served and continue to serve in United Nations peacekeeping operations for their high level of professionalism, dedication and courage.  It would also honour the memory of those who have lost their lives in the cause of peace.

Also according to the text, the assembly would invite all Member States, organizations of the United Nations system, non-governmental organizations and individuals to observe the International Day in an appropriate manner.  It would also request the Secretary-General to bring the draft resolution to the attention of all Member States and organizations of the United Nations system.

LOUAY FALLOUH (Syria) said that United Nations peacekeeping constituted an important tool for the maintenance of international peace and security.  Peacekeeping played a vital role in diffusing tension and resolving disputes.  Examples of success included Sierra Leone, East Timor, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Prevlaka.  He hoped that peacekeeping operations would extend to other dispute areas that had been neglected, including Somalia.  While peacekeeping operations were not a substitute for a lasting settlement, they were a provisional measure to prevent the exacerbation of disputes.  Peacekeeping operations should be time-bound, however, and they must abide by the principles of the United Nations Charter, including the non-use of force, impartiality and respect for the sovereignty of the State involved.

United Nations peacekeeping had started more than 50 years ago in the Middle East, he said.  Operations in that region continued to play a vital role there.  Regrettably, peace still eluded the region, since Israel continued to occupy the Arab territories and continued its policies of settlement and surpressing the rights of the Arab peoples in the Arab lands.  Syria appreciated the sacrifices of the peacekeeping units in the Middle East.  He also appreciated the relationship between the United Nations Secretariat and the Permanent Mission of Syria.

He said Syria supported the statement made on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, which stressed the need for compliance with the principles of the Charter, rapid deployment, recruitment, the payment of arrears and transparency in choosing forces from States willing to contribute them.  On the issue of procurement, notwithstanding slight improvements in the system, most procurement operations were carried out in the developed countries.  He stressed the importance of increasing procurement from the developing countries.  The full implementation of Security Council resolution 1353 would contribute to strengthening cooperation between the Security Council, the Secretariat and troop-contributing countries in planning and organizing missions.

MENELAOS MENELAOU (Cyprus) said that much discussion had been carried out in recent years on the issue of United Nations peacekeeping reform and, while the latest overall peacekeeping process offered many sound recommendations on how to improve and strengthen the internal structures, organization and mechanisms of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, it was now time to turn attention to the peacekeeping operations themselves. 

Reminding the Committee of the fact that Cyprus hosted one of the first established peacekeeping operations, he said that there had been no progress in the situation due to a lack of political will on the Turkish Cypriot side.  His Government had proposed to work on demining the buffer zone as a demonstration of its political will for a peaceful settlement to the Cyprus problem.  It had also proceeded with the destruction of 4,500 small arms. 

The attendance of more than 7,500 people at a United Nations Day event on 21 October 2002 manifested the desire of Greek and Turkish Cypriots alike to end division and to live together as a member of the European Union, respecting human rights and fundamental freedoms, without discrimination.  The time for a just and viable solution to the Cyprus problem was long overdue.  Such a solution would free resources, through demilitarization, which could be used for the reconstruction of the island.

MONICA BOLANOS-PÉREZ (Guatemala) said her country’s special interest in peacekeeping operations stemmed from the functions discharged by the United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala (MINUGUA).  Guatemala recognized the fundamental nature of the role played by MINUGUA as the body responsible for verifying the fulfilment of the peace agreements concluded in December 1996.  The phase that had followed the effective end of the conflict had been full of both challenges and hope.  In that phase, MINUGUA had constituted a catalysing element, which had facilitated the transition to peace within the broad terms of its mandate.  That mandate, which widened in 1997, included verification, facilitation, public information and good offices.  The agreement continued to be a work in progress that involved advances, as well as setbacks.  MINUGUA’s presence in Guatemala had been a vital factor in the process. 

The Department of Peacekeeping Operations was engaged in important reforms, she said.  Much progress had been made in designing structures capable of strengthening action and improving the Department’s capacity.  There was still work to be done, however.  The United Nations must be able to deploy operations in a rapid and effective manner.  The Organization must be in a position to manage and analyze information relevant to its role in the area of peace and security.  Reinforcing the capacity for rapid deployment was a crucial element for the success of peace operations.  She favoured the consultation process that the Secretariat was carrying out with Member States.  She also invited the Secretariat to seek solutions for the needs of funding, equipment and personnel to accomplish deployment goals.  Safety of United Nations personnel was a matter of concern to Member States.  She urged the Department to continue working together with the Office of the United Nations Security Coordinator to achieve greater progress in planning, training of personnel and the provision of reliable equipment.

MALICK THIERNO SOW (Senegal) said that considerable strides had been made in adopting the reforms recommended in Security Council Resolution 1353 and in the Special Committee's report.  Senegal was an ardent supporter of strengthening cooperation between the United Nations and the African Union and subregional organizations in the realms of conflict prevention, management and resolution.  However, the African continent continued to witness tensions and conflicts severely limiting its potential for economic development.  In that regard, the international community needed to support the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), which gave priority to the promotion of peace and good governance.

In accord with the statement made by the representative of Jordan on behalf of the non-aligned countries, he underlined the crucial importance of maintaining order and the primacy of law, as well as the program of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration.  Given its delicacy, the issue of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration required the fullest attention, to adopt effective measures to turn current trends around.

Also of importance was the issue of reimbursements due to Member States contributing troops to peacekeeping operations, he added.  The Special Committee's recommendations to make sure that disbursements were issued on time should be implemented.  The credibility of the organization depended on it.  It was also important that all Member States conform with their financial obligations.

MALICK THIERNO SOW (Senegal) said that considerable strides had been made in adopting the reforms recommended in Security Council Resolution 1353 and in the Special Committee's report.  Senegal was an ardent supporter of strengthening cooperation between the United Nations and the African Union and subregional organizations in the realms of conflict prevention, management and resolution.  However, the African continent continued to witness tensions and conflicts severely limiting its potential for economic development.  In that regard, the international community needed to support the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), which gave priority to the promotion of peace and good governance.

In accord with the statement made by the representative of Jordan on behalf of the non-aligned countries, he underlined the crucial importance of maintaining order and the primacy of law, as well as the program of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration.  Given its delicacy, the issue of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration required the fullest attention, to adopt effective measures to turn current trends around.

Also of importance was the issue of reimbursements due to Member States contributing troops to peacekeeping operations, he added.  The Special Committee's recommendations to make sure that disbursements were issued on time should be implemented.  The credibility of the organization depended on it.  It was also important that all Member States conform with their financial obligations.

ISHAYA ISAH HASSAN (Nigeria) said that as a stakeholder and major troop-contributing country, Nigeria identified itself with the achievements made in maintaining global peace and security and recognized the unflinching commitment of the Secretariat, troop contributions, stakeholders and other partners.  The highest respect should be paid to the Blue Helmets, who had served and paid the highest price in the service of world peace.  Yet, it was important to recognize that much remained to be done; the increase in conflicts within and between States and the rising tide of terrorism were worrisome. 

The issue of restructuring the Department was particularly important to Nigeria, he said.  Reforms had enabled the Department to be better staffed, equipped and prepared to carry out its onerous task of supporting peacekeeping and peace support operations.  However, there should also be a critical evaluation of the gains of the Department against the heavy investment made by Member States in strengthening and enhancing its capacity.  Nigeria supported the call for expanding the universality of on-call lists.  As a major stakeholder in United Nations peacekeeping, Nigeria had already forwarded their nomination for the military and civilian police on-call list. 

Enhancing the capacity of Africa's traditional troop-contributing countries to provide equipped, trained and high-quality peacekeepers must be one of the major preoccupations of the Committee, the Department and, indeed, the United Nations, he added.  The role of the Best Practices Unit should not be seen only in the context of closed missions, but should also consider current missions to formulate principles, guidelines and policies for future use.  Moreover, there was a need for the expeditious payment of all reimbursements owed to troop contributors, to enable them to meet their administrative and operational commitments, and for all Member States to pay their outstanding assessed contributions.  On the subject of recruitment, it should be conducted in accordance with the principles of transparency, geographic representation and gender balance.

I.C. LAMBA (Malawi) said he was pleased with the progress that the Department had made in carrying out some of the major recommendations of the Brahimi Panel Report.  He commended the Department for the tasks performed in Sierra Leone and for its sterling performance in Bosnia and Herzegovina, particularly in the areas of police reform, restructuring and capacity-building in the administrative and judicial areas.  He affirmed Malawi’s support for continued engagement in peacekeeping initiatives.  There was a need, however, to institutionalize the culture of prevention, within the framework of the United Nations system and regional cooperation.  There was compelling need to shift from a culture of reaction to one of prevention through vigilance and rapid deployment.

The safety and security of United Nations personnel remained a major concern, he continued.  Given the urgency of the issue, mechanisms to conduct investigations into attacks against personnel and to prosecute alleged perpetrators was needed.  That could only be achieved with the cooperation and support of States hosting peacekeeping missions.  Regarding incidents of misconduct, Malawi welcomed the Under-Secretary-General’s proposals for tightening discipline.  Intensive pre-assignment briefings and orientation seminars, as well as a code of conduct, were important ingredients in keeping field personnel under control. 

He welcomed the engagement between troop-contributing countries and the Department on matters of discipline, reimbursement of troop costs and contingent-owned equipment, and rapid deployment.  The Security Council should coordinate with troop-contributing countries on Strategic Deployment Stocks.  More attention and resources must be devoted to developing Africa’s peacekeeping capacity.  At the operational level, the Department's Headquarters staff must be infused with African military and policy experts.  He called for adequate training of peacekeeping personnel.  Such training ought to promote technical competence, as well as an understanding of local cultures and dynamics. 

MURARI RAJ SHARMA (Nepal) said that, despite major reforms, the United Nations' peacekeeping record remained mixed.  The process to make peacekeeping more effective, efficient, better managed and coordinated needed to continue.  While missions had become more innovative, multi-disciplinary and robust, the Security Council still lacked sufficient transparency in its work and substantive consultation with troop-contributing countries.  Many missions lacked clear benchmarks for success, exit strategies and were ill-managed and planned.

Furthermore, there were four major areas of concern in peacekeeping, he said.  First, some peacekeepers had behaved badly.  Second, many poor countries willing to contribute troops were left out because they failed to meet the self-sustaining requirements.  Third, there was continued delay in reimbursing troop and equipment costs.  Fourth, and most serious, a form of apartheid was emerging as most senior officials were from developed nations, while the poor nations did the difficult and dangerous work.

To address the issues, he said that the report of the Special Committee should be fully implemented.  There needed to be clear rules of engagement and a code of conduct.  The United Nations needed to help developing countries bridge the resource gap, to train troops and to develop rapid deployment capacity.  To achieve optimal results, an environment of genuine cooperation between the troop-contributing countries, the Security Council and the Secretariat was necessary.  Peace-building was essential to make peace permanent, and should not be neglected.

MARIJA ANTONIJEVIC (Yugoslavia) said the current session was marked by the reaffirmation of the primary role of the United Nations in the maintenance of international peace and security.  To enable the United Nations to safeguard international peace and security, the Organization’s capacity to conduct peacekeeping operations should be further strengthened.  A precondition for a successful peacekeeping operation was a clearly defined mandate, based on the consensus of all interested parties.  The resources allocated to an operation should be adequate to meet its objectives.  The process of planning and managing peacekeeping operations must be further improved.  Special attention should be given to the enhancement of the Department’s capability for strategic planning and analysis.  She welcomed the announcement that the Best Practices Unit would be fully functioning by the end of the year.

The successful management of peacekeeping operations required a more integrated approach, she added.  Cooperation between the Department and other parts of the United Nations system must be fostered.  The Secretariat should continue to work towards the goal of rapid deployment within 30 days of mandate adoption, and 90 days for complex peacekeeping operations.  The nature of peacekeeping had changed in recent years.  Mandates were more complex and included such tasks as conflict-prevention and post-conflict reconstruction.  As the host country for the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), it was Yugoslavia’s conviction that many issues within the mandate of a peacekeeping operation should be addressed only in cooperation with a host country, including those related to conflict prevention and post-conflict reconstruction.

ANDREJ DROBA (Slovakia) said that on the issue of rapid deployment, welcome progress had been made in many areas.  Slovakia was supportive of recent changes to the United Nations Standby Arrangements System, which represented a step forward in utilizing Member States' capabilities in the early stages of a mission's deployment.  Although the ongoing reform of her armed forces meant that it was difficult for Slovakia to allocate units to the Standby Arrangements System before all changes were in effect, he reaffirmed a strong commitment to United Nations peacekeeping operations, participation in which was enshrined in the military strategy of the Slovak Republic.  Despite the demands of the ongoing reforms, Slovakia contributed troops, military observers and equipment to seven peacekeeping operations, he said.      

Recognizant of the increasing role of civilian police in current United Nations peacekeeping activities, he added that the Slovak Parliament had adopted a law allowing for the participation of the Slovak civilian police in peacekeeping operations.  Finally, tribute should be paid to the men and women who served in the United Nations' peacekeeping missions, in which regard Slovakia co-sponsored the draft resolution that would designate 29 May as the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers.

PIYARATNE DE SILVA (Sri Lanka) fully associated his country with the statement made by Jordan on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement.  He firmly believed that United Nations peacekeeping operations must maintain respect for principles of sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of States, as well as non-intervention in their domestic affairs.  A clearly defined and realistic mandate was also essential for the success of all peace operations.

He noted that in current peacekeeping operations emphasis had been applied to promote national reconciliation, assist democratic institutions and enhance responsibility for human rights and the rule of law, while also mobilizing international economic assistance.  However United Nations peacekeeping operations continued to be challenged by a shortage of troops, which could undermine the efforts of the United Nations to meet some of the complex operations that were entrusted to it.  He urged countries in a position to do so to provide the required troops, in order to avoid shortages.  Also, troop composition should be drawn from both developed and developing countries.

Reviewing Sri Lanka's troop contributions, he welcomed the Department’s programme of training and expressed appreciation for the work done by the peacekeeping Best Practices Unit.  He said the adverse effects of peacekeeping, which at times included enforcement action and economic sanctions, should be properly addressed and compensatory measures considered in framing mandates.  Also, the financing of peacekeeping remained a major concern and he stressed the need for Member States to pay their assessed contributions on time.  Paying tribute to peacekeepers, including those who sacrificed their lives, he called for increased preventive action in order to reverse the need for more peacekeepers.

Action on draft

Committee Secretary, LESLIE WILKINSON, said that the draft resolution had been reissued to reflect the fact that Japan was included in the list of co-sponsors.

The representative of Ukraine introduced the draft resolution (document A/C.4/57/L.8) saying it recognized the invaluable contribution of men and women who had served in peacekeeping operations as well as the sacrifice of those who had lost their lives for the cause of peace.

Ms. WILKINSON then informed the Committee that Poland, Romania, Sweden, Fiji, Indonesia, Croatia, Israel, Kyrgyzstan, Tunisia, the Netherlands, Australia, Malaysia, Monaco, Sierra Leone, Mozambique and Belarus also wished to co-sponsor the draft.

The representatives of Ghana, France, Senegal, Slovenia, Côte d’Ivoire, Haiti, Mali, Benin, Mongolia, Republic of the Congo and Ethiopia also indicated their desire to co-sponsor the draft.

The Committee then adopted the draft without a vote.

Concluding Statement by the Under-Secretary-General

Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Jean-Marie Guéhenno, said that many countries present in the room had paid a heavy tribute to peacekeeping in the past 50 years.  Peacekeeping was the most concrete expression of the solidarity of nations represented at the United Nations.  Peacekeeping’s legitimacy and strengths depended on that solidarity.  The debate that had taken place was important, because it was a way to consolidate the consensus, without which peacekeeping could not be effective.  He had been briefed on the Committee’s concerns. 

He was grateful for positive comments on the progress the Department had made, he said.  There was still a long way to go.  Peacekeeping was unfinished business and would always be so, because the challenges at hand would not disappear.  The Committee’s exchange had been frank, open and constructive.  Such exchanges would contribute to the Department’s further progress.

Right of Reply

Speaking in right of reply, the representative of Israel said that, in light of the remarks made by Lebanon and Syria, it was regrettable they had viewed this debate as an opportunity to launch unsubstantiated attacks against Israel.  For those genuinely concerned with the subject of peacekeeping operations, Israel showed how such operations could be successes, but only when the governments concerned were willing to live up to their responsibilities.  The problem in South Lebanon was that there was no government in place to respect those obligations.  It was highly unlikely that the Lebanese Government would change its course and abide by its obligations.

On 24 May 2000, Israel withdrew from Lebanon in concurrence with Security Council resolution 425 (1978), he said.  That had been confirmed by the Secretary-General and the Security Council.  It should be noted that, contrary to the Lebanese position, the territory of the so-called "Shabbas farm" was not on the Lebanese side of the "blue line".  The reasons for that were clearly set out in the Secretary-General's report and had been emphasized in subsequent reports.  Even the Lebanese Foreign Minister had acknowledged the conflict in positions held by Lebanon and the Secretary-General.  There was simply no basis whatsoever for the continued refusal to respect the blue line and the ongoing threats to international peace and security.  Lebanon had the responsibility to return to effective authority and to prevent terrorist activity.

Of course, he added, it was no secret that Lebanon had failed to fulfil its obligations, in part, because of the continued occupation of its territory by Syria.  More than 30,000 Syrian troops occupied parts of Lebanese territory, rendering Syria the main occupying force.  That had directly enhanced the capability of Hezbollah to launch attacks against Israel across the blue line.  That ran counter to Security Council resolution 1373 (2001).  If Lebanon and Syria were serious about peace and security, they would be better served focusing attention on the compliance of their own governments with those resolutions.

The representative of Turkey, speaking in the exercise of the right of reply, said that the Cyprus statement had exploited the agenda item under the Committee’s discussion to marshal distorted views on Cyprus.  The United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) was deployed in 1964 to protect Turkish Cypriots.  A proper response to the baseless allegations of Cyprus would be given by the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus in due time.

The representative of Lebanon said that since the establishment of United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) in 1972, some 244 martyrs had sacrificed.  He thanked all troop-contributing countries for their solidarity with UNIFIL.  UNIFIL was a partner in the deliberation process.  His statement had not contained most of what Israel said it had contained.  The Committee should go back to the official record.  But, as long as Israel had volunteered to lodge accusations, he would reply.

Sending peacekeepers to Lebanon had been the result of Israel’s occupation of South Lebanon, he said.  Had it not been for that, an international force would not have been needed.  The resistance had been borne out of the occupation.  The international forces were sent because of the occupation.  Now, Israel was singing the praises of resolution 425 (1978).  The representative of Israel forgot that his country had occupied Lebanon for 22 years.  For 22 years, Israel had refused to implement resolution 425 (1978).  When that resolution had been implemented, Israel had said that it had done so out of respect for international legitimacy.  Had it not been for the resistance, Israel would not have withdrawn from Lebanon.

Regarding breaches, he added, last September there had been 17 air, sea and land violations by Israel.  The truth was that Israel did not respect its obligations regarding the blue line.  Israel violated it repeatedly.  Everyone knew that Israel had shelled the United Nations base in Lebanon.  Some 38 shells had destroyed the headquarters of the Fijian troops.  More than 100 civilian Lebanese had lost their lives in that attack.  Israel was singing the praises of international resolutions, while it had bombed the United Nations base.  What the representative of Israel had said was a myth.

Speaking in right of reply, the representative of Syria said that the statement by the representative of Israel was replete with distortions and lies.  As regards the implementation of Security Council resolutions, Syria's position was well known.  All the Council members had admired the constructive role played by Syria in the effort to fight terrorism as a member of the Security Council.  It did respect resolutions and had acted to implement resolution 1373 (2001).

He said that Israel now flouted 29 Security Council resolutions, in which they were called upon to withdraw from the occupied territories.  In one, Israel had been asked to withdraw from the occupied territories and to put an end to its settlements.  Israel had tried of late to thwart the enactment of the latest resolution, 1435 (2002).  Israel had tried not to translate that resolution into reality, sending tanks and the military to kill thousands. 

Regarding terrorism, he said the Middle East region had not endured terrorism until the founding of Israel.  In fact, the Israeli army was made up of terrorist factions.  Israel had waged terrorist assaults against the inhabitants of the region, the Palestinians, to force them out of their homes.  The terrorism did not stop there, but had assaulted the United Nations itself.  Count Bernadotte was assassinated by Israel.  A high-ranking officer was assassinated in Gaza last year.  Israel was the only State to wage State terrorism.  Israel killed dozens every day, including Palestinian children.

As for Lebanon, he said that Syria was the State the most closely interested in the independence of Lebanon.  Lebanon had been the scene of a civil war, as had the Balkans and other regions.  The international community had asserted great efforts before Syria entered the situation and yet no solution had proved possible.  One million Lebanese had emigrated into Syria.  When all Lebanon's forces and political factions had called on Syria to enter, and when an official request to intervene had been received, only then did Syria enter.  The Syrian involvement stemmed from an official request of the Lebanese Government.  Was there a single government that did not today recognize the Lebanese Government? 

The Government of Syria was prepared to do all that was required by the Government of Lebanon, but it was plain to see that Israel did not want close ties between Arab countries, he said.  However, ties of blood and good neighborliness linked them, including the desire of the Lebanese people.  Israel was not entitled to enter into the affairs of Lebanon and to claim that that country's interests were something by which it set great store.  They had killed thousands there.  Israel had occupied Lebanon for 20 years, in flagrant violation of Security Council demands. 

The representative of Cyprus said the Turkish representative had referred to the 1963 events as the reason for UNFICYP’s establishment.   The report of the Secretary-General in 1965 noted that the Turkish Cypriot leadership was committed to the physical separation of the community as a political goal, the result being a policy of self segregation by the Turkish Cypriots.  The so-called Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus was an illegal entity created by Turkey to further its aims.  The Security Council had called for its withdrawal.  The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus was not recognized by any country but Turkey.  Turkey would do well to heed the call of the international community to withdraw its occupation forces from Cyprus and allow its people to live in peace and prosperity.

Speaking in right of reply, the representative of Israel said that the representative of Lebanon had said that Israel had occupied his country for 22 years.  Thus, even he agreed that Israel left Lebanon two years ago.  It was upsetting that he would obscure the blatant contradiction between his Government's position and that of the international community.  It was so clearly in breach of Security Council resolution 1373.  Lebanon continued to provide assistance and safe harbor to Hezbollah, which was the element most directly responsible for the

continued instability in South Lebanon.  Furthermore, he was troubled by reports of Al Qaeda activities in Lebanon.

With respect to Syria, he could only urge that the source from which the remarks came be recognized.  Syria was one of most active supporters of terrorism.  It had sponsored terrorism for five decades and had even committed terrorist acts against its own people.  Naturally Syria would like to brand Israel a terrorist State, to obscure the fact that Syria was a brutal dictatorship and police State.  It had continued to support terrorism after 11 September and as it sat on the Security Council.  For Syria to accuse Israel was appalling.  It was long past time for the puppet regime in Lebanon and the Syrian Government to stop insulting the members of the Committee.

The representative of Lebanon had criticized Israel, but he had not addressed the points he had mentioned today.  Criticism of Israel was taking place throughout the Organization, because the truth was clear.  The aggressor was well known, as was the victim.  Regarding respect for Security Council resolutions, he could not believe that Israel had called for respect for those resolutions.  The representative of Syria had mentioned some 29 resolutions that Israel had not implemented. 

The representative of Syria said that his country and Lebanon were closely associated by agreements.  Israel had no right to interfere in the domestic affairs of Lebanon.  Israel would not have withdrawn from Lebanon if it had not been for the efforts of the Lebanese resistance.  There were Lebanese prisoners in Israeli prisons; they had been kidnapped from their homes and villages by Israeli forces. 

He reiterated that Israel had refused to implement all Security Council resolutions relevant to the Middle East, 29 of them to date, while Syria, as a member of the Security Council, had been praised by the other members.  Syria had been praised for its active role in drafting resolution 1373 (2001).  Israel should be the last to talk about terrorism, since it was the only State to exercise state terrorism.  With its tanks and aircraft, Israel had killed thousands, shelled homes and killed children.  Further, the Israeli representative had referred to the domestic situation in Syria to show that Israel was a democratic State, but that was absurd logic to use at a time when Israel killed people in the occupied Arab territories.  Was there a new concept called the "democracy of occupation"?

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For information media. Not an official record.