Statement by

His Excellency Mr. Yasser Arafat

Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization

President of the Palestinian National Authority

Before

The Special Commemorative Meeting of the General Assembly

on the Occasion of the 50th Anniversary of the United Nations

New York

22 October 1995

(Original: Arabic)

Mr. President, Heads of Delegations, Ladies and Gentlemen,

It gives me great pleasure, Sir, on behalf of the Palestinian People and its leadership in the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Palestine National Authority, to express to you and your friendly country our congratulations as you preside over this historic meeting, which crowns fifty years of international action.

I also wish to salute the Kings, Presidents and the Heads of Delegations of the countries participating in this meeting. I also salute Dr. Boutros-Ghali for his principled positions and tireless efforts. I salute the United Nations, which has contributed, over the second half of this century, to making our world safer and more secure, edging it away from wars and destruction.

Our meeting today affords us an important opportunity to take stock of the United Nations experience and to reaffirm our commitment to its Charter for a world of peace and security and a better future for mankind.

Mr. President, Heads of Delegations, Ladies and Gentlemen,

The history of the United Nations is intertwined with that of the question of Palestine. It was the United Nations that adopted the resolution on the partition of Palestine into two states: one Jewish and one Arab. Since then, the United Nations has not ceased to deal with the question of Palestine in all its ramifications and developments.

The history of the United Nations and its resolutions constitute an expression of its permanent legal, political and moral responsibility, which makes the United Nations a witness to the immense suffering of our people and their sacrifices, their displacement and scattering in all parts of the world, as well as the wars and massacres which have been inflicted upon them. Nevertheless, they persisted in their struggle and their intifada for survival and for the affirmation of their national identity.

Hence the importance of the United Nations role. It should continue to sponsor our Palestinian cause, alongside the Israeli-Palestinian agreements until the implementation of our inalienable national rights, including the right of our people to return, self-determination and national independence.

Mr. President,

The initiative of President George Bush for the peace process and the Madrid Conference, and later the meetings in Washington, was made on the basis of United Nations resolutions, and the Palestinian-Israeli agreements in Oslo, Cairo, Taba, Washington and others, were based on United Nations resolutions, particularly Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973), as well as on the principle of land-for-peace.

This means that the United Nations has an abiding responsibility towards the cause of our people, particularly because such fundamental issues as the question of Al-Quds Al-Sharif, of refugees, of the settlements and of the final borders, have been left to the final stage.

Mr. President, Heads of Delegations, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Our people have continued to support the peace process. When we embarked upon the peace process, which was approved by our National Council, Central Council and all other organizational units, the peace option became an irrevocable Palestinian decision. It springs from our people's desire to turn over the leaf of killing and destruction once and for all, so that the Palestinian people and Israeli people may live side by side, in two independent states on the basis of mutual respect.

This historic Palestinian-Israeli reconciliation must be carried through as envisaged. It must be completed on all the other Arab-Israeli tracks, particularly, the Lebanese and Syrian tracks, so that peace may be just and comprehensive and include also the Iraqi and Libyan peoples.

In spite of all the difficulties, we are determined to go forward to complete the transitional stage and enter into negotiations on the final status. I should like to seize this opportunity to express our appreciation to the sponsors of the peace process, the United States and the Russia Federation, especially for the support of President Clinton and his good efforts and that of his assistants, and for the efforts of President Yeltsin. I should also express appreciation for the efforts made by President Mubarak of Egypt, in particular to give the process a push forward, and the efforts of Their Majesties King Fahd, King Hassan II and King Hussein, as well as those of President Zein El Abidine Ben Ali, President Zeroual and President Ali Abdullah Saleh, the permanent members of the Security Council, the member States of the European Union and Japan and the efforts of Dr. Boutros-Ghali, Norway and the Arab, Islamic African and Non-Aligned States.

We emphasize our need for their support in order for our people to succeed in its endeavor, to rebuild its infrastructure, which has been destroyed by the occupation, to end its dispersal and to build its political system on the foundations of democratic pluralism and freedom.

Mr. President, Heads of Delegations, Ladies and Gentlemen,

The winds of change are blowing in our world. A new world order is emerging. It is our responsibility in the United Nations and the international community to make it a good order for the stability, security and peace of the world, with the wider participation of the States and peoples of the world. We therefore support the trend towards the expansion of the membership of the Security Council, which will give it new vigor and will ensure justice and equality for all.

Mr. President, Heads of Delegations, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I came to this Assembly twenty-one years ago as a fighter for freedom, liberation and independence, carrying with me the torments of my struggling people. Today, however, I come to you with a heart filled with love and peace, now that the olive branch has been raised over the peace of the brave.

Our people yearn for peace. The prophecy of good tidings has been heralded. Help us bring it to fulfillment, help us to bring it to fulfillment.