7th plenary meeting
Friday, 16 September 2005, 9 a.m.
El Hadj Omar Bongo Ondimba ………………………………….
(President of the Gabonese Republic)
Mr. Göran Persson ……………………………………………………
(Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Sweden)
The meeting was called to order at 9.10 a.m.
Addresses on the occasion of the High-level Plenary Meeting (continued)
The Co-Chairperson (Sweden): The Assembly will now hear an address by His Excellency Mr. Nasser Al-Kidwa, chairman of the observer delegation of Palestine.
Mr. Al-Kidwa (Palestine) (spoke in Arabic): I have the honour to deliver the statement of President Mahmoud Abbas, who has had to remain at home, given the current difficult circumstances. It reads as follows.
“I address the General Assembly today as a representative of my people, conveying their message and carrying their pain, their hopes and their trust in members’ commitment to their cause, which has been before the Assembly for 58 years now. It was on behalf of that noble cause that our late leader, President Yasser Arafat, stood before the Assembly for the first time in 1974 and delivered his historic speech for the sake of his people and of peace and security in the region.
“We in Palestine face today two historic tasks and are determined to fulfil them: the task of achieving independence and peace and the task of development and the building of our State institutions.
“The first priority, therefore, is to end the occupation and achieve freedom. The way to end the occupation is clear. It has been defined by the numerous resolutions of international legitimacy and the steps towards its achievement were laid down in the road map, which enjoys international consensus and was endorsed by the Security Council in resolution 1515 (2003). The goal, as elaborated in the Arab peace initiative and the vision of President Bush, is the achievement of peace on the basis of the two-State solution — Palestine and Israel — with borders based on the armistice line of 1949.
“As we strive to achieve independence and statehood, we are working to promote a culture of peace and to reject violence and eliminate its causes, for we want to build a society that will transform the suffering of the Palestinian people throughout the decades into a creative, constructive energy, whereby the Palestinian cause will become an example of democracy and progress, and not a tool abused by those who want to exploit the feelings of the world’s oppressed and encourage terrorism or foment a conflict between civilizations.
“Today, we have an opportunity to relaunch the peace process, an opportunity provided in the aftermath of the disengagement in the Gaza Strip and parts of the northern West Bank, which we dealt with positively, despite the fact that it was unilateral, and indeed succeeded in ensuring that it was completed in a quiet and secure manner.
“It is incumbent upon Israel to turn that unilateral withdrawal into a positive step in a tangible way. We must quickly resolve all outstanding major issues, including the Rafah border crossing with Egypt, the airport and the seaport, as well as the establishment of a direct link between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. Without that, Gaza will remain a huge prison. The Sharm el-Sheikh understandings must also be implemented and Israel must withdraw to its pre-28 September 2000 positions, release its Palestinian prisoners and create an atmosphere of hope and trust.
“However, any serious revival of the peace process cannot be achieved without the complete cessation of all settlement activities, the construction of the wall, and the continued dissection that is transforming the West Bank into isolated cantons and scattered islands, particularly in Jerusalem. Jerusalem is the key to peace. East Jerusalem is the capital of our State. Its siege and encirclement by the separation wall, its isolation from its surroundings, the destruction of its livelihoods and the deprivation of its Palestinian citizens — Muslim and Christian alike — from access to their holy places can only destroy the foundations of peace.
“Partnership is the key to success in all steps, because, even if they partially succeed, unilateral policies will be only temporarily successful and definitely not comprehensive. Therefore, the best way to achieve progress is to proceed immediately to final status negotiations to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in such a way that guarantees the establishment of the State of Palestine along the 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital, and a just and agreed-upon resolution of the plight of the refugees in accordance with resolution 194 (III).
“Upon my election as the President of the Palestinian National Authority, we reached a national agreement to achieve calm unilaterally, which endured despite repeated provocation. We also launched a comprehensive process to unify and rehabilitate our destroyed security apparatus, and have achieved considerable progress despite the obstacles that we have faced. In parallel, we initiated a reform process that will provide the infrastructure for the establishment of a modern democratic Palestinian State. We held municipal elections and have begun preparations for legislative elections, which will be held early next year, with a view to firmly establishing the foundation for pluralism, democracy and the peaceful transfer of authority.
“We have made important accomplishments in the reform and development of our governmental institutions and our financial system to prepare for the economic development project that we wish to establish and that we will work with the international community to achieve. In that context, I must express my gratitude to all brotherly and friendly States for their ongoing support, as well as for the outcomes of the London conference and the G-8 summit. Our people hope that the support will be increased, because peace cannot be achieved in poverty and development cannot be achieved under occupation.
“Allow me to take this opportunity to affirm our conviction in Palestine of the need for a strong and reformed United Nations, including its Security Council, in order to confront the challenges of the twenty-first century. We also affirm the need for compliance with the purposes and principles of the Charter and international law, particularly with regard to the protection of human rights, freedom and dignity, so that the international community can address the challenges that face all of us, such as foreign occupation, international terrorism, the spread of weapons of mass destruction, poverty, hunger and epidemic diseases.
“Finally, we affirm that we, particularly those of us in the Middle East, now stand at a crossroads. Either we achieve real and effective progress towards peace, stability, security, construction and coexistence, or we return to the vicious cycle, under the constant threat of violence and terrorism, far from the real and necessary solutions to the challenges that we face. I am confident that the Assembly will push for the first option.”
The meeting rose at 2.20 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.