Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip/Peace prospects – GA general debate – Verbatim record (excerpts)

Official Records


General Assembly
Sixtieth session
14th plenary meeting
Monday, 19 September 2005, 3 p.m.
New York



Mr. Jan Eliasson  ……………………………………………………………………….




    The meeting was called to order at 3.10 p.m.



 The President: On behalf of the General Assembly, I have the honour to welcome to the United Nations His Excellency Al Hadji Yahya A. J. J. Jammeh, President of the Republic of the Gambia, and to invite him to address the Assembly.

 President Jammeh: …

  While we must focus on those long-term objectives, we must also not lose sight of the imperatives of our time. We must continue working in concert towards the realization of global peace, assigning highest priority to those conflict situations that pose the greatest threat to the peace of the whole world. In this, we must begin with the Middle East. Without a just solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict peace will continue to elude the Middle East with consequences that will affect the whole world. My delegation supports the vision of a two-State solution, with Israel and Palestine living side by side in peace and security. We also welcome Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza and the West Bank as a step towards a complete withdrawal from the rest of the occupied Palestinian territory.


Item 9 of the provisional agenda (continued)


General debate


  The President : I have great pleasure in welcoming His Excellency Pakalitha Bethuel Mosisili, Prime Minister and Minister for Defence and Public Service of the Kingdom of Lesotho, and inviting him to address the General Assembly.

 Mr. Mosisili (Lesotho): …

  It is in this twenty-first century that peace, security, the right to self-determination, respect for all human rights and fundamental freedoms must be guaranteed as the norm rather than the exception. Hence, our call for the right to self-determination of the Palestinian people and complete withdrawal from their occupied territories, the independence of the Saharawi people, the lifting of the unilateral economic embargo against the people of Cuba and the end to armed conflicts, particularly in Africa. These matters must be addressed and resolved urgently, comprehensively and honestly, without fear or favour, and without malice to anybody.

  The President : I now call on the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Luxembourg, His Excellency Mr. Jean Asselborn.

  Mr. Asselborn (spoke in French ): …

  The Near East has only rarely been the scene of positive developments. This is why I should like particularly and expressly to welcome the political courage of the leaders of the two sides regarding the successful withdrawal from Gaza and certain parts of the north of the West Bank. Now we should take advantage of that positive dynamic to launch a genuine peace prospect based on the road map, which continues to be the essential framework in this matter. The conditions to promote the emergence of a climate of peace were recalled by the European Council on 16 and 17 June 2005. In particular, the fact that the Palestinian Authority is taking control of Gaza now provides it with an opportunity to demonstrate its institutional and administrative maturity, particularly as regards maintaining law and order and combating terrorism. The cessation of all acts of violence by the parties is also an essential requirement.

  Regarding the crucial question of Israeli colonization activities in the occupied territories, the European Council noted that “the policy of colonization is an obstacle to peace and threatens making virtually impossible any solution based on the coexistence of two States”. In the same context, the European Council expressed concern at the continuation of the building of the separation barrier in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem and its surrounding areas, which contradicts the pertinent provisions of international law. At the same time, of course, the Council recognized the right of Israel to protect its citizens against attacks.

  Let us assume that the next meeting of the Quartet, which will be held in New York tomorrow, will find political formulas that will make it possible to continue the positive dynamic of disengagement from Gaza and will clear the way for a just and lasting peace in this divided part of our world.

  The President: I now give the floor to His Excellency Mr. Dermot Ahern, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ireland.

  Mr. Ahern (Ireland): …

  In relation to the Middle East and Iraq, the achievement of a lasting peace in the Middle East is of great importance to the entire world. Here, too, political will is the crucial ingredient. The initial difficult phase of Israel’s disengagement from settlements in Gaza has taken place peacefully. The courage and the commitment of Prime Minister Sharon and his Government have been commendable. Much, however, remains to be done.

  I welcome the determination of President Abbas and his colleagues to take full advantage of the opportunity presented by the withdrawal. They must, with our help, maintain their efforts to ensure peace, security and the rule of law. And disengagement will truly be a success only if Gaza becomes economically viable, with free trade and free movement. This is clearly in Israel’s interests, as well as in those of the Palestinians.

  Disengagement is an important advance. It cannot be the end, but rather a step towards the full implementation of the Quartet’s road map. With the support and the assistance of the international community, both sides must press forward and renew momentum towards a permanent peace. It is also vital that, in particular in relation to the West Bank — as my delegation has spelled out in detail on many occasions — Israel desist completely from further steps which could jeopardize the viability of a two-State solution.

  The President : I now call on His Excellency Mr. Abdelwaheb Abdallah, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Tunisia.

  Mr. Abdallah (Tunisia) (spoke in Arabic ): …

Many of those issues still constitute a source of concern for the international community, because of their impact on security and stability, and foremost among them is the Middle East problem.

  In keeping with its commitment, and that of its President, His Excellency President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, to peace as a strategic choice, Tunisia has contributed to all efforts and initiatives aimed at reaching a just, comprehensive and durable settlement to the Palestinian question. We reiterate our call to all parties, more particularly to the Quartet, to take advantage of recent positive developments in the region in order to resume peace negotiations, thus allowing the Palestinian people to recover their legitimate national rights and establish their own independent State on their land as well as bringing security, stability and prosperity to all peoples of the region.

  We feel that achieving just, comprehensive and durable peace in the Middle East requires the recovery by sisterly Syria and Lebanon of all their occupied territories.

 The President: I now call on His Excellency Mr. Petros Molyviatis, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Greece.

  Mr. Molyviatis (Greece): …

  The latest developments in the Middle East allow us to maintain a certain level of reserved optimism. The Israeli withdrawal from Gaza and parts of the northern West Bank does, indeed, constitute an important milestone. This is a momentous opportunity to revitalize the road map and to move the process a step closer to achieving a fair, lasting and comprehensive peace in the Middle East.

  The road map remains the framework for the achievement of a just and lasting peace. Both parties should concentrate on fulfilling their respective obligations and commitments and refrain from any and all unilateral actions which threaten to prejudge the outcome of final status negotiations and undermine efforts at building confidence on the ground.

  Our shared goal remains the realization of a two-State solution: Israel and a democratic, viable and territorially contiguous State of Palestine, living side by side in peace and security.

  The President : I now give the floor to His Excellency Mr. Diogo Freitas do Amaral, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Portugal and former President of the General Assembly.

  Mr. Freitas do Amaral (Portugal) ( spoke in Portuguese; English text provided by the delegation ): …

  Regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it is important that, taking advantage of the current positive momentum, we hold serious negotiations aimed at reaching bilateral and multilateral agreements. The road map cannot be forgotten or indefinitely postponed. Just as Israel has an unquestionable right to live in peace within secure borders, the Palestinian State also has an unquestionable right to exist. Only through what is called the two-State policy can there be peace in the Middle East.

  The Acting President : I now call on His Excellency Mr. Mohammed Abdulla Al-Rumaihi, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Qatar.

  Mr. Al-Rumaihi (Qatar) (spoke in Arabic ): …

  We have often stated that peace in the Middle East can be achieved only through the implementation of the resolutions of the Security Council and of the General Assembly. All of those resolutions recognize the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people, foremost among which is the right to self-determination and to the establishment of their independent State on their national soil, with Al-Quds as its capital; withdrawal from the occupied Golan Heights up to the border of

4 June 1967; and full withdrawal from the rest of the Lebanese territories still under occupation.

  On that basis, the international mediation process produced the road map, which affirms the principle of land for peace and calls for the withdrawal of Israel from the occupied territories and the establishment of the State of Palestine.

  The Arab summit, meeting in Beirut in March 2002, endorsed an international initiative calling for the normalization of relations between the Arab States and Israel in return for Israel’s withdrawal to the 1967 border.

  The Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip is an important and positive first step, which, we hope, will be followed by similar steps in all the Palestinian territories and the other occupied Arab territories, in accordance with internationally binding resolutions and the relevant initiatives and agreements, in order to bring about stability, security and a comprehensive and just peace for all States and peoples of the region.

  The meeting rose at 7.20 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-154A. Corrections will be issued after the end of the session in a consolidated corrigendum.

Document symbol: A/60/PV.14
Document Type: Meeting record, Verbatim Record
Document Sources: General Assembly
Subject: Gaza Strip, Peace proposals and efforts, Situation in the OPT including Jerusalem
Publication Date: 19/09/2005

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