by Ambassador Pham Vinh Quang,
Deputy Permanent Representative
of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam to the United Nations
at the Fourth Committee of the UNGA 67 Session
on Agenda Item 52:
United Nations Relief and Works Agency for the Palestine Refugees in the Near East
At the outset, my delegation wishes to commend Mr. Filippo Grandi, the Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) and his staff for the professionalism, skill and dedication with which they had carried out their work over the last year. We also thank Mr. Grandi for his comprehensive report and the briefing yesterday, which outlined the various programmes implemented by the Agency. My delegation wishes to align itself with the statement delivered by the distinguished representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement.
Let me start by commending UNRWA for its efforts over the year to continue delivering its programmes, providing its educational, health and social services for the well-being, human development and protection of nearly 5 million Palestine refugees in West Bank and Gaza, Lebanon, Jordan and Syria. We are pleased to know that during the reporting period, the Agency continued its emergency operations in the occupied Palestinian territory, and as at 30 July 2012, the Agency was implementing projects valued at $189 million, for 35 schools and more than 1,900 shelters. We also highly appreciate extensive reforms implemented by UNRWA with the aim of improving its effectiveness, and urge the United Nations, Member States and international donor community to provide continued support to the work of the Agency.
My delegation remains gravely concerned about the lack of progress in the Middle East peace process, the volatile situation in the Gaza Strip and the issue of Palestine refugees. It is heartfelt to know from the Report that in the Gaza Strip, poverty remained high, with 54 per cent of the population food insecure and over 75 per cent, or 1 million Gazans, dependent on international aid. The blockade of the Gaza Strip, eased but not lifted since June 2010, the conduction of hundreds of military operations against the Gaza Strip, the land confiscations, construction and expansion of settlements, the demolitions and destruction of homes and economic assets by the Israeli authorities as the Occupying Power still affecting the life of the entire Palestinian civilian population, impeding the socioeconomic and humanitarian conditions of the refugee community and on the work of UNRWA.
In this connection, we call upon Israel to cease all military and the settlement activities in Palestinian Territory, and end its blockade to provide immediate protection for the Palestinian population in Gaza in accordance with international humanitarian laws. We again appeal all parties concerned to abide by international humanitarian and human rights laws and extend the necessary cooperation to humanitarian relief operations with a view to mitigating pains and hardships of Palestinian people. We emphasize the need to give staff members of UNRWA convenient and safe conditions to carry out their difficult work, so that the agency could meet better the needs of the Palestine refugees.
For a long lasting solution, we call for intensified efforts by the international community, in particular the Security Council and the Quartet, to address the current political and humanitarian crisis and to promote a just, lasting and comprehensive peaceful solutions to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and the Arab-Israeli conflict. Viet Nam supports negotiations between parties concerned and welcomes renewed efforts by the Quartet, the League of Arab States, regional countries and the United Nations to help promote the Israeli – Palestinian negotiations on all core issues.
Viet Nam reiterates our principled supports for the courageous struggle and rights for the Palestinian people over the years, in particular the right to self-determination and establishment of an independent state. Viet Nam has recognized the State of Palestine at its early day and will support its legitimate request for membership of the United Nations.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman