In first address to UN debate, Egypt President highlights Palestine issue as key concern

26 September 2012 – Addressing the United Nations General Assembly for the first time since becoming his country’s first democratically and freely elected civilian President, Egypt’s Mohamed Morsy today highlighted his nation’s progress over the past 18 months, while citing the issue of Palestine as “the first issue which the world must exert all its efforts in resolving.” “Long decades have passed since the Palestinian people expressed their longing for restoring their full rights and for building their independent state, with Jerusalem as its capital,” President Morsy told the Assembly’s General Debate, which began on Tuesday at UN Headquarters in New York. “Despite their continued struggle, through all legitimate means to attain their rights, and despite the acceptance by their representatives of the resolutions adopted by the international community as a basis for resolving its problems, this international legitimacy remains unable until now to realize the hopes and aspirations of the Palestinian people,” he added. “The resolutions remain far from being implemented.” The Middle East peace process is currently at a standstill, with Israeli-Palestinian talks stalled, following Israel’s refusal to extend a 10-month freeze on settlement activity in the occupied Palestinian territory. Noting that the Arab world has presented a comprehensive peace initiative for resolving the conflict, President Morsy assured the delegates in the General Assembly Hall of Egypt’s full support for any course of action that Palestine decides to follow at the United Nations. “I call upon all of you, just as you have supported the revolutions of the Arab peoples, to lend your support to the Palestinians in their endeavours to regain the full and legitimate rights of a people struggling to gain its freedom and establish its independent state,” he said. While Palestine is not a member of the UN General Assembly, in 2011 the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) became the first UN agency to admit it as a full member following a vote by UNESCO’s General Conference, the agency’s highest ruling body. The Egyptian leader also noted that his country remains committed to the international agreements and conventions that it has previously adhered to, while also noting that Egyptians support “the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people and are determined to pursue all efforts side by side with them until they regain their rights.”

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