69th Plenary Meeting of General Assembly: 51st Session - Part 1

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02-Dec-1996 01:32:52
European Union says Middle East peace process needs implementation of agreements already reached at 69th plenary meeting of the 51st session.

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Troop Redeployment, Prisoner Release Cited in Assembly Debate; Israel Says Palestinian Leader Should Sign Hebron Accord Without Delay.

The Middle East peace process was the only path to security and peace for Israel, the Palestinians and the neighbouring States, the representative of Ireland, speaking for the European Union and associated States, told the General Assembly this morning as it considered the question of Palestine.

To ensure further progress, the European Union urged implementation of agreements already reached, notably redeployment of Israeli troops from Hebron and the release of Palestinian prisoners. Positive steps were needed to relieve the economic plight of the Palestinians. Israel's internal security must be ensured and measures which prejudiced the outcome of the permanent status negotiations must be avoided.

The representative of Israel said peace would be achieved only through direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians; negotiations without preconditions and free from external pressures. Regarding current negotiations, the Israeli representative, exercising his right of reply, said "I trust that an agreement on Hebron will be reached soon, and I call again upon Chairman Arafat not to delay its signature any further". Issues relating to the permanent status should be negotiations between the parties, and the United Nations should not predetermine their outcome.

The Permanent Observer for Palestine said the Palestinians were seriously negotiating on Hebron and other elements of past agreements. Also speaking in exercise of the right of reply, he said that while Palestinians insisted on implementation of past agreements, without amendment, Israel was insisting on reaching new agreements. Calling upon Israel to abide by its contractual commitments, he said that if the Israelis wished to reach peace, the road was known to them.

The Permanent Observer of the Organization of the Islamic Conference said the peace process was today virtually at a stalemate and ministers of the organization had called upon the international community to compel Israel to cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territories, including Jerusalem and the Syrian Golan. In addition, the ministers had urged the United Nations to pressure Israel to release detainees and return deportees; to halt mass punishment and land confiscation; and to end its action which threatened life and the environment in the occupied territories.

During this morning's discussion, statements were also made by the representatives of Yemen, Sri Lanka, Tunisia, Japan, Bahrain, Algeria, Qatar, Iran, Viet Nam and Egypt.

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