Official Records

General Assembly

Fifty-ninth session

8th plenary meeting

Thursday, 23 September 2004, 3 p.m.

New York



Mr. Ping  …………………………………………………………….



    The meeting was called to order at 3.05 p.m.



Address by Al Hadji Yahya A. J. J. Jammeh, President of the Republic of the Gambia


  The President (spoke in French ): The Assembly will now hear an address by the President of the Republic of the Gambia.

  Al Hadji Yahya A. J. J. Jammeh, President of the Republic of the Gambia, was escorted into the General Assembly Hall.

 The President (spoke in French ): 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: 

… We have seen children being butchered in Beslan, Russia; we have seen Palestinian and Israeli children being butchered. The problem is not a religious problem but a political one, because we, the leaders of the world, want to teach others a lesson by making them suffer. That is a human tragedy.

  Address by The Right Honourable Pakalitha Bethuel Mosisili, Prime Minister and Minister for Defence and Public Service of the Kingdom of Lesotho


  The President (spoke in French ): The Assembly will now hear an address by the Prime Minister and Minister for Defence and Public Service of the Kingdom of Lesotho.

  The Right Honourable Pakalitha Bethuel Mosisili, Prime Minister and Minister for Defence and Public Service of the Kingdom of Lesotho, was escorted to the rostrum .

 The President (spoke in French ): …

  It is common knowledge that the root cause of the world’s insecurity today is international terrorism and armed conflict. Terrorist actions continue to haunt and to shock us. The recent murder of innocent, young, defenceless school children in Beslan, Russia; the bombings in Indonesia; and daily killings in Iraq, Palestine and Israel, are simply too ghastly to countenance. Equally, the recent massacres of men, women and children in refugee camps in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burundi and the Sudan are not only dastardly in the extreme, but stand in stark contrast to everything that modern civilization, humanity and morality espouse.

  Our world will continue to be insecure for as long as terrorists continue to be harboured and financed by some States Members of the United Nations. We must recognize that none of us is immune from terrorism. But a more honest and practical solution would be for all States Members of the United Nations to commit themselves not to harbour or finance terrorists and their organizations. In that way, terrorists would have no safe haven, thus rendering it possible to chase them from pillar to post until terrorist organizations are eliminated from our world.

  My delegation has never condoned the killings of Israelis by the Palestinians or of Palestinians by the Israelis. We have always considered the root causes of the problem in the Middle East, which is the illegal occupation of Palestinian lands by Israel. That problem has been exacerbated by the construction by Israel of a separation wall in the occupied Palestinian territory. The International Court of Justice, the principal judicial organ of the United Nations, on 9 July 2004 rendered its advisory opinion that such construction was contrary to international law. We therefore appeal to Israel to implement the important resolution adopted by the General Assembly in view of the Court’s advisory opinion. Moreover, it is our submission that, unless and until the issue of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people is addressed vigorously, urgently and truthfully, peace and security will remain elusive in the Middle East.

    Address by the Honourable Lawrence Gonzi, Prime Minister of the Republic of Malta


 The President (spoke in French): The Assembly will now hear an address by the Prime Minister of the Republic of Malta.

  The Honourable Lawrence Gonzi, Prime Minister of the Republic of Malta, was escorted to the rostrum .

 The President (spoke in French):

… In Iraq, in Palestine and in Israel, the fact that in those difficult realities hardly a single day goes by without news of people dying violently in armed actions is in sharp contrast with the limited reports on continuing efforts to find peaceful and viable solutions. Silently, across our globe of plenty with its advanced technology, the fact remains that in spite of our collective efforts millions of individuals, many of them children, continue to suffer and die in conditions of absolute poverty, malnutrition and disease.

  One area in which the EU and the United Nations are active and important partners concerns the question of Palestine. As members of the Quartet, the EU and the United Nations play a significant role by injecting a much-needed balance and objectivity into an issue tormented by violence and passion. Both the EU and the United Nations are by right major stakeholders in the issue. History and geographical proximity underpin the special interest of all EU member States in the prosperity and well-being of both Israelis and Palestinians. The creation and peaceful coexistence of two neighbouring States, Israel and Palestine, was one of the United Nations very first, but unfortunately still unfulfilled, recommendations.

  After decades of bitterness and wrong turns, the issue of Palestine remains jeopardized by the forces of extremism and intransigence. But extremism and intransigence — as manifested by both the perpetrators of Palestinian suicide bombings and Israeli advocates of a continuing and forceful military occupation of Palestinian territories — do have a counterbalance on both sides, as manifested by the Geneva Initiative of late last year, among many other examples. The EU and the United Nations need to continuously exert their influence and pressure on both sides to persuade them to give greater heed and credibility to the voices of reason which lie in their midst.

  The path to legality and reconciliation has been defined in the road map, in the many resolutions of the Security Council and the General Assembly and, most recently, in the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice. Even in the face of constant setbacks on the ground, the EU and United Nations Quartet partners need to remain steadfast in their insistence that the road to peace can only be set within those parameters.

  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.

  One of the primary objectives of the European Union is to promote the development, through partnership, of a common zone of peace, prosperity and progress in the Mediterranean and the Middle East. In recent months the Union has elaborated a policy agenda for that strategic partnership linking together a number of instruments and mechanisms that have been put in place over the years. The Euro-Mediterranean Partnership — the Barcelona or Euromed process — and the European Neighbourhood Policy are the frameworks of that policy. A key element in the EU approach is the parallel importance assigned to the processes of security-building and to cooperation in the social, economic, cultural and humanitarian fields. In that way it ensures that the evolving relationships in the Euro-Mediterranean area are tailored to the specific concerns and needs of the individual countries and regions.

 The President (spoke in French) : I now call on His Excellency Mr. Abdullah Gül, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Turkey.

  Mr. Gül (Turkey): …

  The Middle East problem and the situation in Iraq and Afghanistan are the major conflicts responsible for compounding instability in the world and are leading to increasingly serious consequences.

  The road map is the only available framework for a comprehensive settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian problem. Benefiting from its traditional ties with the parties, Turkey has already offered its active contribution to the implementation of the road map. We also support every effort that is initiated and coordinated in that context.

  We join the call made by the Quartet yesterday. The resumption of the negotiating process between the two parties should remain the central objective of current efforts. It is important, likewise, that both sides fulfil their performance criteria as laid out in the road map. Terrorist attacks against the Israeli people must stop. So must the deliberate destruction of Palestinian lives and properties. The process of the reform of Palestinian institutions must be advanced. Israeli settlement activities must be immediately halted. The ruling of the International Court of Justice must be respected. And the living conditions of the Palestinians need to be urgently improved.

  Any settlement would be incomplete without progress on all tracks, including those involving Syria and Lebanon.

 The Acting President (spoke in Spanish ): I now call on Her Excellency Mrs. Benita Ferrero-Waldner, the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Austria.

  Mrs. Ferrero-Waldner (Austria): …

 Austria is convinced that only effective multilateralism based on the rule of law can address the new and complex challenges that the international community faces today. We support the efforts of the Quartet in the Middle East peace process, and we urge Israel and the Palestinians to implement their respective obligations. The road map remains the only way forward towards a just, comprehensive and lasting settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict leading to two States living side by side in peace and security.

 The Acting President (spoke in Spanish ): I now call on His Excellency Mr. Sergey Lavrov, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation.

 Mr. Lavrov (Russian Federation) (spoke in Russian): …

  Certainly, in an increasingly interdependent world, the war on terrorism cannot be considered in isolation from other pressing issues facing mankind. This is especially relevant to the settlement of conflicts, which for decades have been destabilizing the situation at the regional and global levels. Through its decisions, the General Assembly must promote a Middle East settlement on the basis of commitments made by the parties under the road map. Yesterday, the Quartet of international mediators spoke out to that end.

  The Acting President (spoke in Spanish ): I now call on His Excellency Mr. Brian Cowen, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ireland.

  Mr. Cowen (Ireland): …

  The people of Israel and Palestine continue to suffer from violence that is as futile as it is tragic. The root cause of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a struggle over land. The land must be shared by agreement arrived at through negotiation between the parties to the conflict. The continuing unilateral expansion of settlements and the construction and maintenance of the separation barrier on the West Bank will make the conflict more difficult to resolve. The entire international community — particularly Israel’s friends — need to send that clear and unambiguous message to the Israeli Government and the people of Israel.

  Ireland acknowledges the right, indeed the responsibility, of the Israeli Government to protect its people, including, if it so wishes, by a security fence along its recognized borders. However, the building of the fence in the West Bank serves to divide Palestinian communities and creates severe hardship for them. It will also serve to perpetuate the so-called facts on the ground, and make it more difficult to reach a final settlement. The advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice has given clear guidance on the fence that should be given careful consideration by those whose policies and actions it addresses.

  The Palestinian Authority must also assume its responsibilities under the road map, notwithstanding the difficulties it faces. Effective and responsible leadership is required. The Palestinian people can best achieve their sovereignty by restoring national discipline and rejecting the path of violence.

  Ireland, in common with its EU partners, continues to believe that the only way to reach a comprehensive settlement of the conflict is through the Quartet road map. In the Tullamore Declaration, issued during Ireland’s recent presidency of the European Union, EU ministers welcomed the expressed intention of Prime Minister Sharon to withdraw from Gaza and acknowledged the impetus that such a withdrawal could give to the peace process, as long as it met certain conditions, including that it take place in the context of the implementation of the road map.

  I therefore urge Israel and the Palestinian Authority to cooperate closely with the Quartet to ensure that the withdrawal from Gaza is accompanied by the full and effective assumption by the Palestinian Authority of its responsibilities in the territory, and that a momentum towards the full implementation of the road map is developed.

  The Acting President (spoke in Spanish ): I now give the floor to His Excellency Mr. Mustafa Osman Ismail, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of the Sudan.

  Mr. Ismail (Sudan) (spoke in Arabic ): …

  Israel’s oppressive policies against unarmed Palestinian people, the imposition of closures on occupied Palestinian land, the extrajudicial crimes committed there, the demolition of houses, the starvation and intimidation, the increased settlement activities and the besieging of the Palestinian President all require that the international community bring pressure to bear on Israel to stop those acts. The Sudan welcomes the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice on the illegality of the separation wall and on compensation for all losses caused by it. We welcome resolution ES-10/15, adopted by the General Assembly at its tenth emergency session, on 20 July 2004, demanding that Israel abide by that opinion. An international, comprehensive and just peace in the Middle East will be reached only when Israel withdraws from all occupied Arab lands, including the Syrian Golan Heights and the Lebanese Shali’a farms. There will be no peace or stability until the Palestinian people recover their legitimate rights, including their right to establish an independent Palestinian State with Jerusalem as its capital and the right of refugees to return to their lands.

  The Acting President (spoke in Spanish): I now give the floor to Sheikh Mohammad Al-Sabah Al-Salem Al-Sabah, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the State of Kuwait.

  Mr. Al-Sabah (Kuwait) (spoke in Arabic ): …

  We are following with great concern the tragic situation faced by the Palestinian people in the occupied Arab territories as a result of Israeli policies and practices that contravene international and humanitarian law.

  We reaffirm our support to the struggle of the Palestinian people and their legitimate claim to recover their political rights. We therefore call upon Israel to respect Security Council resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973), and 1515 (2003), the principle of land for peace, the road map and the dismantling of the racial separation wall. That is part of our integral vision for resolving the situation in the Middle East, which must be based on mutual respect and cooperation between all parties.

  To ensure stability in the Middle East, we must also work to eradicate weapons of mass destruction, and all parties need to pursue the path of understanding and dialogue to implement the noble principles of the Charter of the United Nations governing inter-State relations and relations among the peoples of the world. We reiterate, in that regard, that the dispute between the United Arab Emirates and the Islamic Republic of Iran concerning the three islands that belong to the Emirates should be resolved by peaceful means. We urge the two parties to resolve that dispute as rapidly as possible.

    The meeting rose at 8.30 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/59/PV.8
Document Type: Meeting records
Document Sources: General Assembly
Subject: Arms control and regional security issues, Palestine question, Peace proposals and efforts
Publication Date: 23/09/2004