General Assembly 76th Session High Level Debate – Press Release (GA/12368) (Excerpts – Nigeria, Lebanon, Senegal, State of Palestine, EU, Gambia, Benin, Mauritius, Bangladesh, Ireland, Kuwait, Belize)

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Focus on Syrian, Palestinian Refugees, Aid for Afghans, South Sudanese

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Lebanese President Michel Aoun…Likewise, he rejected “any form of settlement of the Palestinian refugees” and called for “finding a solution to the Palestinian issue in accordance with international resolutions, which guarantee the right of return.”  Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas echoed that call, urging the Secretary-General to take the necessary steps towards developing an international mechanism for the protection of the Palestinian people and to activate that mechanism.

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MUHAMMADU BUHARI, President of Nigeria

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He concluded by encouraging “Israel and Palestine to re-engage in a dialogue based on relevant United Nations resolutions and initiatives”.  The two-State solution has the support of the international community and is widely considered as a solution to lasting peace.

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MICHEL AOUN, President of Lebanon

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Likewise, he rejected “any form of settlement of the Palestinian refugees” and called for “finding a solution to the Palestinian issue in accordance with international resolutions, which guarantee the right of return”.

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MACKY SALL, President of Senegal

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He went on to reiterate the call for Palestinians to enjoy their right to a viable State coexisting in peace along secure and recognized borders.

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MAHMOUD ABBAS, President of the State of Palestine, recalled that many of his people carry deeds and keys to the houses from which they were uprooted 73 years ago.  Meanwhile Israel, in defiance of international law and United Nations resolutions, enacts laws and holds court hearings to displace Palestinians from Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan in Jerusalem unlawfully and forcibly, which can only be characterized under international law as ethnic cleansing.  “The crimes and aggressive policies of the Israeli occupying Power against our people, land and holy sites will not thwart our people’s struggle to achieve their freedom and independence on their land.  This colonial regime it has established on our land will disappear, regardless of how long it takes,” he said.

There are still some countries that refuse to acknowledge the reality that Israel is an occupying Power, only serving to embolden it to reject and violate United Nations resolutions, he said.  As for internal Palestinian unity, he reiterated that the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) is the legitimate and sole representative of the Palestinian people.  In that context, he stressed that his Government did not cancel presidential elections, but postponed them as they could not be held in Jerusalem.

He went on to highlight the constructive dialogue currently under way with the United States Administration to resume Palestinian-American relations and take steps that will ensure the occupying Power’s abidance of signed agreements.  However, the current and former Israeli Governments have persisted in evading the two-State solution, and pursued occupation and military control over the Palestinian people while presenting illusionary economic and security plans as an alternative.  The leaders of Israel no longer feel any shame while stating their blunt opposition to this solution that is supported by global consensus, he stressed.

In that context, he called upon the Secretary-General to take the necessary steps towards developing an international mechanism for protection and to activate that mechanism.  Furthermore, he called on the Secretary-General to convene an international peace conference, in line with the internationally recognized terms of reference and United Nations resolutions and the Arab Peace Initiative, and under the sole auspices of the international Quartet.

Israel has one year to withdraw from the Palestinian territory it occupied in 1967, including East Jerusalem, he declared, adding that his Government is ready to work throughout 2021 on the delineation of borders and solving all final status issues in accordance with United Nations resolutions.  If this is not achieved, why maintain recognition of Israel based on the 1967 borders, he wondered.  “This is our land, our Jerusalem, our Palestinian identity, and we shall defend it until the occupier leaves, as the future belongs to us, and you cannot claim peace and security for yourselves alone.  Let us be.”

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CHARLES MICHEL, President of the European Council of the European Union,…

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The uptick in violence in the Middle East calls for peaceful dialogue towards a two-State solution between Israel and Palestine, he added.

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ISATOU TOURAY, Vice-President of the Gambia,…

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Developments within the international community continue to be a matter of concern to the Gambia, she said, pointing to stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace talks…

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MARIAM CHABI TALATA, Vice-President of Benin

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Listing several regional crises, she reiterated Benin’s support for the creation of a Palestinian State coexisting peacefully with Israel.

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PRAVIND KUMAR JUGNAUTH, Prime Minister of Mauritius

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…and called for a just and lasting settlement for the Palestinian people

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SHEIKH HASINA, Prime Minister of Bangladesh,…

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In this spirit, she said her country…stands against any form of injustice against the Palestinian people

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MICHEÁL MARTIN, Taoiseach of Ireland

However, he voiced his deep frustration at the Council’s inability to speak throughout the latest outbreak of hostilities between Israel and the Palestinians.  A comprehensive, just and lasting peace was possible through the two-State solution, but young Palestinians and Israelis were losing hope that peace could be achieved.  “As leaders, we must act now,” he said, calling on the international community to renew efforts for a just and lasting outcome, including through a reinvigorated Quartet.

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SHEIKH NAWAF AL-AHMAD AL-JABER AL-SABAH, Amir of Kuwait

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The Palestinian question still occupies the central pivotal position in Arab and Muslim worlds, he stressed.  Tension and instability will remain prevalent in the region unless the Palestinian people obtain their legitimate political rights and Israel stops building settlements, confiscating land, blockading Gaza and desecrating holy places.  To that end, he called for establishment of an independent Palestinian State with East Jerusalem as its capital, along pre-1967 borders, and return of refugees, also praising the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) for providing basic assistance to millions.

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JOHN BRICEÑO, Prime Minister of Belize

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Expressing support for an independent Palestinian State within its 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital and the right of return, he noted the Sahawari people are similarly prevented from exercising their right to self-determination.

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2021-09-30T11:17:25-04:00
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