I thank Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for his presence and his address to the Council. The Secretary-General, amongst other things, expressed the concern that we share about the continued violence and emphasized the need for continued negotiations that we support to resolve the Middle East conflict. I thank Under Secretary General Lynn Pascoe for his detailed briefing.
My Delegation shares the views of the Non-Aligned Movement to be presented by the Representative of Cuba on behalf of NAM.
The resumption of negotiations between Israel and Palestine on final status issues and international efforts in the Middle East peace process did give us some hope of moving closer to a just, comprehensive and lasting solution to the Israel-Palestine issue based on the establishment of an independent Palestinian State that lives in peace, side by side with Israel. Our hope, however, is being dimmed by realities on the ground.
My Delegation is deeply concerned about the deterioration of the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory where Israelâ€™s military attacks and its construction of illegal settlements and the Wall in the West Bank continue. We remain deeply concerned about the fact that disregarding the repeated appeals of the international community, Israel has not loosened its restrictive measures in the Gaza Strip which are being implemented in violation of international law, including international human rights and humanitarian laws, and which are causing an alarming toll of human lives, especially those of women and children, and numerous sufferings to the Palestinian population. While expressing our sympathy with innocent Israeli civilians killed, injured or otherwise harmed in attacks targetting southern Israel and other acts of violence that Viet Nam has and will continue to condemn, we cannot accept that this is being used to justify the above-mentioned illegal actions of Israel. By aggravating the already tense situation on the ground, these actions are endangering the limited positive progress achieved since the launch of the Arab Peace Initiative and the Annapolis and Paris conferences. Whether as an initiator or an answer, violence only adds to the never-ending spiral of its own. We urge the parties concerned to exercise maximum restraint and abide by international laws, including international humanitarian and human rights laws. We call upon Israel to put an end to those actions and abide by the spirit of relevant Security Council and General Assembly resolutions in order to de-escalate tension and create an atmosphere conducive to tangible results of the negotiations it is engaging in with Palestine on final status issues, thus bringing the Middle East peace process back on track. In light of the difficulties the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip are enduring as a result of the Israeli restrictive measures, while concuring with the Secretary-Generalâ€™s support for the Palestinian Authorityâ€™s proposal to operate the Gaza crossings, we join his appeal to the international community and UN agencies and NGOs to extend to them necessary emergency and humanitarian assistance.
My Delegation takes note of certain positive developments that have been recorded in the implementation of Security Council resolution 1701 (2006) such as the tripartite cooperation between Israel, Lebanon and UNIFIL to address key security and military operational issues, and dialogues between Lebanon and Syria on border delineation and demarcation. However, we are deeply concerned about the continuation of targeted attacks against Lebanese civilians and UNIFIL personnel as well as about Israelâ€™s air violations and its occupation of the village of Ghajar on the northern side of the Blue Line. We continue to share the concerns about repeated postponements of the Presidential elections, the slow progress in the disarmament of armed groups, the lack of technical strike data of Israeli cluster munitions as well as the unresolved issue of Lebanese prisoners.
While supporting the efforts undertaken by the League of Arab States and the Government of Lebanon in advancing the political process, we urge all parties concerned to promote political dialogue, national reconciliation and proceed to the Presidential elections as planned. We call for and continue to support full implementation of resolution 1701, especially with regard to the respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity of Lebanon, protection of assets and livelihood of civilians, and safety and security of international peacekeeping and humanitarian personnel.
The Middle East has seen too much bloodshed. Continued violence will only make the people of this region - Arabs and Israelis alike - shed more blood. The Middle East conflict can only be solved through peaceful dialogue and negotiations in accordance with the principle of land for peace and relevant U.N. resolutions, taking into account the legitimate rights and interests of all parties concerned. I wish to reaffirm Viet Namâ€™s support for the role of the Quartet, the League of Arab States, regional countries and the United Nations, especially the Security Council in the quest for a lasting solution to the Middle East conflict along this line.
I thank you, Mr. President.