Statement by Dr. Nasser Al-Kidwa, Permanent Observer of Palestine to the U.N., before the General Assembly Plenary, "An Agenda for Peace", Agenda item 10: Report of the Secretary-General On the Work of the Organization, 47th Session, 14 October 1992: (Original: Arabic)
Mr. President, allow me to convey to you my congratulations upon your election to the presidency of the General Assembly for this session and to express my appreciation to you and to your friendly country, Bulgaria. The chairman of the delegation of Palestine for the 47th session, Mr. Farouk Kaddoumi, will extend to you his congratulations as well on behalf of our delegation when he speaks before the Assembly at a later date.
Allow me also to express our appreciation to H.E. Dr. Boutros Boutros-Ghali, Secretary-General of the United Nations, for his constructive efforts aimed at building a more effective United Nations that will help build a better world where peace, justice and prosperity prevail. Allow me also to thank him for his important report, "An Agenda for Peace", which came at the invitation of the historic Security Council summit, which represents a new mechanism to deal with the highly important issues before the world and which we hope will be repeated in the future in order to achieve concrete results. Here, we do not forget that the idea for the summit was mentioned for the very first time when the President of France suggested the convening of a Security Council summit to deal with the situation in the Middle East.
Mr. President, it is a good opportunity for us to be able to participate in this important debate on the best means for achieving a prevailing peace through preventive diplomacy, peacemaking, peace-keeping, and post-conflict peace-building and for enabling the United Nations and its different organs, especially the Security Council, to carry forth all of the above in the most efficient manner possible. This debate has attained more importance because it takes place at a time when we have a historic opportunity to build a better world. The old world order has crumbled and with it so has its main criteria, the Cold War and the danger of nuclear confrontation. With that, high hopes emerged for the establishment of a new world order free from the danger of confrontation and the destruction of war, free from competition for control and domination - a world based on justice and the rule of law, a world which assigns the necessary importance to development, combating poverty and despair, and to human rights as well as to the environment in which human beings live.
There is no doubt that during the short period after which the change occured, there have been several achievements including greater understanding of the real problems the world is facing, the acceptance of the importance of the in-depth debate on these problems and ways to solve them among all parties, the readiness of all of us to put aside positions we have stubbornly kept for long periods of time and, of course, numerous democratic transformations invigorating the freedom which emerged in several places. These achievements also include finding solutions to several regional conflicts and disputes which had persisted for quite some time.
All of these achievements are undeniably of great importance. In return however, Mr. President, we cannot deny that we are still far from the bright picture we drew in our minds of the new situation for our world. There are still major disagreements on the set up of our priorities and even on reaching concrete meanings and definitions for the goals we set for ourselves and the ways to achieve them. The economic suffering of the South continues and the gap with the North is increasing. Several regional conflicts, with their threat to international peace and security, continue unabated without solution. Moreover, new conflicts erupt in outrageous manner without even the prospect of being brought under control. Meanwhile, we must admit that confidence in the moral and legal basis of certain positions is decreasing, while fears of selectivity and double standards and of the desire of some to gain control and hegemony are rising. It may be exactly all these things which make this debate as well as other debates on the international situation even more important, and perhaps it is through such debates that we may all together build the new world order with its main criteria, God willing, the attainment and maintenance of peace in the world.
Mr. President, we listened carefully to the discussions taking place on the report of the Secretary-General until this point. We can say that we find ourselves in agreement with the spirit of the report and with a lot of the ideas and suggestions mentioned in it. We hope that those will receive the necessary discussion to achieve consensus followed by implementation. In this respect, Mr. President, allow me to present some comments, which we believe to be important from our point of view:
We believe that what is mentioned in the report with regard to self-determination for peoples reflects the desire to avoid the phenomenon of the disintegration of states and must be read in congruity with the principle relating to the absolute right of peoples under colonialism and foreign occupation to exercise self-determination; that right is mentioned as one of the purposes of the United Nations in the Charter.
We believe that the importance of the United Nations and its increased role in the field of peacemaking and peace-keeping is dependent upon the assumption of the United Nations of its role and natural responsibilities towards all disputes and regional conflicts without selectivity or exceptions under any pretext. We further believe that it is illogical for the Security Council to leap towards the assumption of tasks in new fields in spite of its importance without the completion, or at least the effective handling, of its essential tasks under its present mandate. Furthermore, we believe that the realization of all that has been mentioned in the report relating to the more efficient work of the United Nations and the Security Council in the fields of preventive diplomacy, peacemaking, peace-keeping and post-conflict peace-building is dependent not only on the ability of the Security Council to impose some enforcement measures in order to implement some of its resolutions under Chapter 7 of the Charter. It is dependent more importantly upon the implementation and the follow up of other Security Council resolutions, all its resolutions, and the full compliance with Article 25 of the United Nations Charter, once more, without selectivity or exceptions.
In the field of the work of the Security Council, we must mention that despite some positive phenomena such as the non-use of the right of veto in the last two years, we have to express our concern at some other disturbing phenomena related to its work, in the forefront of which are lack of transparency and the increased tendency to selectivity, whether in the field of the disputes to be dealt with or the compliance with rules or the implementation of resolutions. We believe in general that the Council must undergo some structural and functional changes to reflect in a better way the new international situation and to bring forth the achievement of better results. We also believe that the absolute importance of the primary responsibility of the Security Council, which is the maintenance of international peace and security, requires giving priority to this subject and it requires also the effective participation of all - something that can be done only in the General Assembly. We remain convinced, Mr. President, of the need for the General Assembly to complete the discussion on the report of the Secretary-General in a comprehensive manner - something which can be done in a good way through an open-ended working group.
Mr. President, we cannot deny or even forget for one moment that we belong to Palestine and the Middle East; we live its conflict daily. Thus, when we contemplate or talk about ideas and means to achieve peace or when we hear others talking about the same subject, we cannot resist making a comparison between everything said on one side and what is happening in the Middle East on the other side. When the issue is a bigger and more effective role for the United Nations, we cannot but remember that the United Nations was barred from supervising or even participating in the Middle East peace process currently underway. When the issue is compliance with Security Council resolutions, which represent the international will, we cannot but remember that Israel has not complied with any resolutions of the Security Council related to the situation in the occupied Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem, since 1967. It has even publicly rejected some of them. This includes the refusal to receive commissions sent by the Council. When the issue is the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, including chemical weapons, we cannot but remember that Israel is being enabled daily to acquire and stockpile nuclear weapons.
I am not going to continue further, Mr. President, but the question remains: How can we reconcile between the validity of those noble ideas on one hand and what is happening in our country and our region on the other hand? Unfortunately it is not possible. However, this will not make us lose our faith and belief in those ideas and in opening to the new world, but it does make us determined to change the situation in our region to bring it in line with those ideas. We are ready, and the correct beginning for the others is to end the contradiction between what they say and what they do. This would enable us to move in the proper direction so that all of us can build a just and lasting peace in the Middle East as an integral part of peace and security in the world.