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Cablegate: Un General Debate: Focus On Israel/Palestine,

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PP RUEHBC RUEHDE RUEHDIR RUEHKUK RUEHLN RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUCNDT #0887/01 2742018
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 302018Z SEP 08
FM USMISSION USUN NEW YORK
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5030
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUCNIRA/IRAN COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 USUN NEW YORK 000887

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV PBTS AORC UNGA VM PP PE EG SA ML
AJ, BE, SY, MU, KZ, AG, BA, AE, GA, RO, NG
SUBJECT: UN GENERAL DEBATE: FOCUS ON ISRAEL/PALESTINE,
IRAN, AND "FROZEN" CONFLICTS

1. SUMMARY: During the September 27 morning plenary meeting
of the UNGA General Debate, Vietnam, Papua New Guinea, Peru,
Egypt, Mali, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Syria, Oman, Kazakhstan,
Algeria, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Gambia,
Niger and Romania spoke. Saudi Arabia distributed its
Foreign Minister's statement, but did not speak.
Participants continued discussing the global financial, food
and energy crises; climate change; implementation of the
Millennium Development Goals; combating transnational crimes
such as terrorism and the trafficking of drugs, arms, and
persons; the need to conclude the Doha Round of trade talks;
respect for human rights; and UN reform. Arab countries
argued for a Palestinian state and Israeli nuclear
disarmament. Syria criticized the United States for "failing
to prioritize peace in the Middle East." Several speakers
addressed Iran's nuclear program. Egypt and others urged
countries to stop "interfering" with Sudan's security and
stability. Speakers called for international attention to
the conflicts in the former Soviet Union, and Syria hinted
that Western powers were behind the recent instability in
Georgia. All statements are available at
www.un.org/ga/63/generaldebate. END SUMMARY.

ARAB COUNTRIES ON IRAQ, PALESTINE, ISRAEL, AND LEBANON
--------------------------------------------- ---------

2. Stability and peace in Iraq remains a central concern for
countries in the region. Saudi Arabia called on "certain
states" (i.e., Iran) to stop violating Iraq's sovereignty by
providing military and financial support to militias there.
Syria, meanwhile, blamed the U.S. invasion for creating
"abominable" humanitarian conditions that forced Iraqis to
flee their homeland, demanding a withdrawal of all foreign
troops. Oman noted its satisfaction with the "relative
improvement" in Iraq's security situation, and called for
continued efforts to reach a "comprehensive national
understanding." All offered their political support for the
restoration of Iraq's important role in the region.

3. Saudi Arabia, Syria, Egypt, Oman, Bahrain, and the UAE
called for a peaceful, comprehensive solution to the issue of
Palestinian statehood. Egypt offered its qualified
appreciation for U.S. peace-brokering efforts, but questioned
Israel's conviction to reach a "just" settlement. Israel
must stop its "politically loaded" settlement activities,
Egypt added. Syria questioned the efficacy of the Annapolis
talks and claimed that after years of "deliberately ignoring"
the pursuit of peace in the Middle East, the United States
must now prioritize this issue. Oman argued for the
international community to "intensify its efforts to make
Israel shoulder its responsibilities." The UAE called upon
the UN Security Council and the Quartet to "exert further
pressure on Israel" to lift "the siege it has imposed on the
Palestinian people" and to end its "unlawful settlement
activities" by withdrawing from Jerusalem, the Golan Heights,
and occupied Lebanese territories. Bahrain emphasized the
need for Israel to withdraw from the Syrian Golan Heights and
Lebanese territories. The Saudis noted that Israel is the
only Middle Eastern country "loaded to the teeth" with
weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) and sought the disarmament
of its nuclear warheads. Egypt lamented that "prominent
members of the international community are unduly permissive"
with Israel's nuclear capabilities and insisted that Israel
adhere to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) and
subject its nuclear facilities to IAEA safeguards.

4. Several speakers from Arab nations congratulated Lebanon
on its elections and formation of a national unity
government. Syria described in positive terms its
relationship with Lebanon. It noted the decision to exchange
diplomatic representation, the shared intent to resume work
of the joint border demarcation commission, and efforts to
fight smuggling and promote cross-border commerce. Saudi
Arabia welcomed these developments and underscored its call
for Israel to withdraw from the Shebaa farms area, which it
claimed Israel itself acknowledges to be occupied territory.
Oman stated that Lebanese progress "invites optimism," and
called upon Lebanon to commit to and implement the Doha
Agreement.

SPLIT VIEWS ON IRAN'S NUCLEAR PROGRAM
-------------------------------------

5. Vietnam argued for a lasting solution to the Iranian and
North Korean nuclear issues on the basis of respect for a
state's legitimate right to a peaceful nuclear program while
adhering to the tenets of the NPT. Saudi Arabia expressed
its hope that Iran will take seriously the obligation to
prevent the proliferation of WMDs and avoid a "futile" arms
race in the region. Meanwhile, Syria supported Iran's claims

USUN NEW Y 00000887 002 OF 002


to a peaceful nuclear program. "Deep mistrust" between Iran
and its interlocutors has prevented a political solution, the
Syrian speaker continued. Bahrain reiterated its call for a
peaceful solution to the Iranian nuclear question "to avoid
the scourge of war," and emphasized the need for the
elimination of WMDs, including nuclear weapons, from the
Middle East, while protecting the rights of countries to the
peaceful use of nuclear energy. The UAE urged Iran to
continue its collaboration with the IAEA, to dispel "concerns
and suspicions" regarding the nature and objectives of its
nuclear program. The UAE also expressed strong concern over
Iran's occupation of three of its islands, calling for full
restoration of the UAE's sovereignty over this territory.

REGIONAL CONFLICTS SPUR CONCERNS OVER TERRITORIAL INTEGRITY
--------------------------------------------- --------------

6. Romania, Azerbaijan, and Vietnam highlighted the need to
respect territorial integrity in Georgia and, more broadly,
the Former Soviet Union. Romania expressed concern regarding
the international community's frequent reference to "frozen"
conflicts when speaking of the conflicts in South Ossetia,
Abkhazia, Transnistria, and Nagorno-Karabakh. "A dormant
volcano can still be an active volcano," the Romanian Foreign
Minister said. The crisis in Georgia, he stressed, proved
that the international community "cannot hide or stay shy
from dealing with uncertain situations under the assumption
that they will simply disappear eventually." He called for
international attention to all of the region's "protracted
conflicts" (as listed above). Azerbaijan stated that the
events in Georgia proved that these "protracted conflicts"
remained a major source of instability, and that "a fragile
cease-fire regime cannot be a substitute for a lasting and
durable peace in the region." Stability is necessary to
ensure that hydrocarbon resources from the Caspian Sea can
reach international markets, Azerbaijan noted. Syria hinted
that Georgia and its allies were responsible for igniting the
tensions and provoking Russia.

7. Egypt urged countries to stop "interfering" with Sudan's
security and stability in an apparent drive to partition the
country, and Algeria cautioned against efforts to "undermine
the sovereignty" of the Sudan. Foreign powers should avoid
actions that could hinder the achievement of peace in Darfur,
the Saudis added. Referring to Sudan (and Burma), Belgium
cautioned that countries can not be allowed to use
sovereignty as an excuse to abdicate the responsibility to
protect their peoples. Many speakers called for continued
efforts to establish peace in the Darfur region.
Khalilzad

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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