by H.E. Ambassador LE LUONG MINH, Permanent Representative of Viet Nam at the Plenary Meeting of the 62nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly on Agenda Item 18: “Question of Palestine”
New York, 30 November 2007
It is a great honour for me to speak at this august forum on the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. Allow me, at the outset, to convey to the Government and people of Palestine our most heart-felt felicitations. I sincerely thank Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People Paul Badji for their respective detailed and comprehensive reports.
Sixty years after the UN General Assembly passed Resolution 181 on the Partition Plan and forty years after the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 242 on the Arab-Israel conflict, peace in the Middle East remains elusive and the people of Palestine are still stateless. The plight of the Palestinian people continues with every passing day, worsened by the deterioration of the humanitarian, economic, social, and political and security situation as a result of the recent excessive and indiscriminate use of force in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. We are specially concerned by the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip. At the same time, we are concerned by the attacks targeting Israeli civilians killing innocent people and undermining the peace process.
At the opening of the 2007 session of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People earlier this year, the Secretary-General reminded that neither the Palestinian people nor the Israeli people can achieve their respective legitimate demands of freedom and dignity and long-term security without a settlement of the Palestine-Israel conflict and he called for efforts in 2007 to reverse the trend of 2006 where he rightly pointed out nearly all developments took us further from the goal shared by a majority of Israelis and Palestinians: two States, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security. In this connection, realizing the urgent need for an immediate resumption of direct and substantive negotiations between all parties concerned for a just lasting and comprehensive solution based on the relevant Resolutions of the General Assembly and the Security Council, the agreements entered into by the concerned parties and in accordance with the land-for-peace principle, we hail the recent efforts by the Quartet and, in particular, the holding by the United States of the 27th November Annapolis Conference, aimed at resuming dialogue between Israel and Palestine. The convening of this conference and the participation of more than 40 countries, among them many Arab countries whose role is indispensable in any solution for the Middle East issue and whose Arab Peace Initiative put forth at the 14th Arab Summit in Beirut in 2002 we continue to support, is a praiseworthy development. My country welcomes the intentions of France and Russia to hold similar events in support of the anticipated negotiations amongst the concerned parties.
Deeply encouraged by the Joint Understanding agreed upon by the Israeli and Palestinian leaders at the Annapolis Conference on their determination to conclude an agreement before the end of 2008, we urge both sides to build on that momentum to move the Middle East peace process forward. While welcoming the recent announcement by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert of Israel on the scheduled freezing of the construction of new settlements in the occupied West Bank and the release of Palestinian prisoners, we call upon Israel to put an immediate end to all military operations and incursions into the Palestinian territories as well as the ongoing efforts to complete the construction of the separation wall on Palestinian land, thus creating favorable atmosphere for the resumption of peace talks and final status negotiations on a two-State solution. Only through a negotiated solution taking into account the legitimate rights of all parties concerned can the Middle East question of which the core is the Israel-Palestine conflict be satisfactorily addressed and ultimately resolved. Viet Nam looks forward to continuing to contribute to the efforts of the international community towards this end. I wish to reiterate Viet Nam’s consistent position to support the establishment of a Palestinian State within the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital where at long last the people of Palestine can live in peace, independence, freedom and dignity.
I thank you, Mr. President.