Friday, 22 October 2004, 3 p.m.
Mr. Ping ………………………………………………………………………………
The meeting was called to order at 4.10 p.m.
Thematic discussion on item subjects and introduction and consideration of all draft resolutions under agenda items 56 to 72
Mr. Bonavia (Malta): …
Malta believes that the Euro-Mediterranean Process is making an important contribution, and addressing the resolve, reducing the ever-widening economic and social gap, which for many years has been one of the destabilizing factors of the Mediterranean region. As a member of the EU, Malta strongly supports this initiative, which offers new and innovative opportunities to reinforce the much-needed cooperation and collaboration between and among all Mediterranean States.
To a certain extent, this process has moved in the right direction. However, this has not been at the rhythm that was anticipated at the beginning. That could well be attributed to the troubled situation in the Middle East, with the problem of Palestine at its core, which unfortunately, has hampered the process. The tragic situation in that region remains one of the primary concerns of my Government, as highlighted by my Prime Minister in his statement to the General Assembly this year:
“Malta looks at the problem both from its tragic humanitarian dimension as well as from its far-reaching implications for peace and security. One important concern for us in that regard is the impact that the problem has on issues of peace and security in the Middle East in general and the Mediterranean area in particular.” ( A/59/PV.8, page 16)
In this regard, we feel that one must pursue every possible avenue to ensure that when the slightest possibility for a peaceful solution emerges, the parties and the international community at large will grasp the opportunity and spare no effort to guarantee a peaceful resolution to the long-standing problem of Palestine. We again call upon Israel and the Palestinian Authority to resolve their differences in a peaceful and just manner. As an EU member State, Malta considers itself to be a party to the Quartet and, therefore, committed to fully support the Middle East road map and any other initiative that leads to the peaceful resolution of the problem on the basis of two States, Israel and Palestine, living side by side within secure and recognized borders. We believe that only through constructive dialogue can an agreement between the Government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority be reached, thus ensuring a just and lasting peace for all the peoples of the region.
My Government wholeheartedly welcomes the recent EU strategic partnership with the Mediterranean and the Middle East, which was formalized pursuant to intensive consultations at the European Council in June 2004. The objective of this strategic partnership is to promote the development of a common zone of peace, prosperity and progress in the Mediterranean and the Middle East. It sets out a concrete policy agenda under which, through partnership, dialogue and recognizing diversities, the Union will seek to promote political reform, good governance, democracy and human rights; secondly, to stimulate trade and economic cooperation, economic liberalization and people-to-people contacts; and thirdly, to promote conflict prevention and resolution in the Mediterranean and the Middle East as well as measures to combat terrorism, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and illegal immigration. In this spirit, Malta considers that to an important extent this strategy is intertwined with the EU’s Mediterranean strategy.
Moreover, my Government attaches great importance to the development and strengthening wherever possible, of internationally recognized nuclear-weapon-free zones, based on arrangements freely arrived at among States of the region. Needless to say, such zones enhance global and regional peace and security and promote nuclear disarmament, stability and confidence. We emphasize the importance of the concept of zones free of weapons of mass destruction, indeed both nuclear and other, and their means of delivery. With the ultimate goal of strengthening peace and security in the Mediterranean region by way of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the region of the Middle East, we strongly urge all States in that area to establish an effectively verifiable zone free of nuclear weapons, as well as other weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery.
The meeting rose at 6 p.m.
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