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07 May 2002

U.S. Says Draft UN Resolution Would Not Help Mideast Peace

(Negroponte speech to General Assembly Emergency Session) (1100)
Progress toward peace in the Middle East would not be advanced by
one-sided, condemnatory General Assembly resolutions, but through
security, serious negotiations, and economic and humanitarian
assistance for the Palestinian people, US Ambassador John Negroponte
said May 7.
In New York, addressing an Emergency Special Session of the General
Assembly on the Middle East, Negroponte said that a proposed assembly
resolution is "filled with one-sided rhetoric condemning one party in
this two-party conflict" and is intent on isolating Israel.
"This resolution will not contribute to the efforts of the
international community to urge both parties to take decisions they
need to make to end violence and return to negotiations," he said.
The ambassador said that the United States was "puzzled" by the
Palestinian decision to ask for a resumption of the emergency special
session at a time when the Security Council has been active and shown
new diplomatic initiative on the Middle East.
The emergency meeting was convened at the request of the Arab Group
and the Non-Aligned Movement on behalf of the Palestinians after the
Security Council was unable to agree on a response to Secretary
General Kofi Annan's decision to disband the Jenin fact-finding
mission and Israeli incursions into the West Bank.
The draft resolution condemns assaults by Israeli troops in
Palestinian cities, especially in the Jenin refugee camp, and Israel's
refusal to cooperate with the secretary general's effort to send a
fact-finding team to Jenin. There is no mention in the resolution of
the suicide bombing attacks on Israeli civilians.
Negroponte said the U.S. will vote against the resolution because
Washington is focused on working directly with the parties to bring
results.
Following is the text of the ambassador's remarks:
(begin text)
The United States is fully committed to a settlement of the conflict
in the Middle East. We are a strong friend of Israel and we are also
friends of the Palestinian people. The way forward to peace will not
be advanced by resolutions such as this or through unbalanced rhetoric
that prejudges what the parties must work out.
We believe the best way forward is to advance the comprehensive
strategy that the Quartet reaffirmed following its meeting last week.
The three elements of this strategy are: one, security and freedom
from terror and violence for both Israelis and Palestinians; two,
serious and accelerated negotiations to revive hope and to lead to a
political settlement; and three, economic and humanitarian assistance
to address the increasingly desperate conditions faced by the
Palestinian people. These are not just words. The Quartet discussed
concrete actions that must be taken to help realize this political
vision.
This strategy has broad support both in the region and in the
international community. And we remain closely engaged with the
parties, the Quartet and regional leaders to move the process forward.
Secretary of State Colin Powell met with Saudi Foreign Minister Saud
al-Faisal. He met with Jordanian King Abdullah, and Israeli Prime
Minister Sharon yesterday to move forward with implementation.
President Bush will meet Prime Minister Sharon today and King Abdullah
tomorrow to discuss ways to pursue Middle East peace.
As Secretary Powell said on Sunday, "we are trying to continue this
process that began with the President's speech on April 4th, talking
about a vision of a Palestinian state, and asking all Palestinian
leaders to move in a new strategic direction where the United States
can help them achieve their goal and our goal of a Palestinian state."
Mr. President, The Security Council met thirty-two times on the Middle
East last month, sidelining all other matters. Frankly, we were
puzzled by the Palestinian decision to resort to a resumption of the
Emergency Special Session at this time of Security Council activism
and new diplomatic initiative.
On March 12, Security Council Resolution 1397, which my government
sponsored, affirmed a vision of a region where two States, Israel and
Palestine, live side by side within secure and recognized borders.
Resolution 1402 calls upon both parties to move immediately to a
meaningful ceasefire; it calls for the withdrawal of Israeli troops
from Palestinian cities, including Ramallah; and it demands an
immediate cessation of all acts of violence, including acts of terror,
provocation, incitement and destruction. We can report progress in the
implementation of these Security Council resolutions. We are working
intensively to end the standoff at the Church of the Nativity and
complete the withdrawal of Israeli troops from the last of the
Palestinian cities, Bethlehem. Hopefully this will be resolved very
soon. However, much remains to be done by Israel, by the Palestinian
Authority, by Arab leaders and by the international community in order
to bring an end to terror and violence.
Mr. President, The resolution before the General Assembly today bears
little resemblance to Security Council resolutions on the Middle East.
This resolution is filled with one-sided rhetoric condemning one-party
in this two-party conflict. While some of the most objectionable
language may be toned down as a result of negotiations, the original
intent to isolate Israel has prevailed. There is not even mention of
Palestinian terror attacks against Israeli civilians, which have done
so much harm to prospects for peace in the Middle East.
And, Mr. President, let me reiterate what my deputy, Ambassador James
Cunningham, explained at the last debate of the Security Council on
Friday night. As sponsors of Security Council Resolution 1405,
welcoming the Secretary-General's initiative to send a fact-finding
team to Jenin, we do not believe that any member state is in violation
of operative paragraph two of that resolution. It is time to move
forward and deal with many of the other pressing problems facing the
region.
Mr. President, we will vote against the resolution before this
Assembly because we are focused on working directly with the parties
to bring results, and because we believe the condemnatory rhetoric
against Israel contained in this resolution will not contribute to the
efforts of the international community to urge both parties to take
decisions they need to make to end violence and return to
negotiations. And for those who believe that resolutions like this one
-- and the speeches that endorse them -- help the Palestinian people,
I suggest, that such rhetoric does the very opposite. It undermines
the credibility of their cause and deepens the divide between the
Palestinians and a neighbor with whom one day, sooner or later, they
will have to live in peace.
Thank you very much, Mr. President.
(end text)
(Distributed by the Office of International Information Programs, U.S.
Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)



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