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U.S. Vetoes Syria's UN Resolution on Israeli Fence

U.S. Vetoes Syria's Proposed U.N. Resolution on Israeli Fence

Negroponte says Syrian proposal did not address terrorism

The United Stated vetoed a Security Council resolution on the Israeli security fence because it was "unbalanced" in not addressing the terrorist attacks in the region, U.S. Ambassador John Negroponte said October 14.

Negroponte cast the negative vote against a Syrian resolution that declared the Israeli security barrier illegal. The resolution received 10 votes in favor. Four nations -- Bulgaria, Cameroon, Germany, and the United Kingdom -- abstained.

"This resolution failed to address both sides of the larger security context of the Middle East, including the devastating suicide attacks that Israelis have had to endure over the past three years," the ambassador told the Security Council.

"A Security Council resolution focused on the fence does not further the goals of peace and security in the region," he said. "We believe all resolutions on Israeli-Palestinian peace should reflect the kind of balance of mutual responsibilities embodied by the Quartet's roadmap. This resolution does not do so."

Speaking with journalists outside the council chambers, Negroponte reminded them that the United States had repeatedly said it will not support resolutions that do not to condemn the terrorist attacks by Hamas, the Islamic Jihad, and the Al-Aqsa Brigade.

Following is the transcript of the ambassador's remarks:

(begin transcript)

October 14, 2003

Explanation of Vote by Ambassador John D. Negroponte, United States Permanent Representative to the United Nations, in his National Capacity, on the Resolution Addressing the Israeli Fence in the Security Council, October 14, 2003

The resolution put forward today was unbalanced and did not condemn terrorism in explicit terms.

This resolution failed to address both sides of the larger security context of the Middle East, including the devastating suicide attacks that Israelis have had to endure over the past three years.

A Security Council resolution focused on the fence does not further the goals of peace and security in the region. We believe all resolutions on Israeli-Palestinian peace should reflect the kind of balance of mutual responsibilities embodied by the Quartet's roadmap. This resolution does not do so.

All parties have responsibilities in bringing peace to the Middle East, to prevent outrages such as the Haifa attack, to deny perpetrators safe haven in their territory. Ending terrorism must be the highest priority.

The United States and our Quartet partners have engaged intensively to encourage Israel and the Palestinian Authority to take concrete steps towards the implementation of a roadmap to peace that has broad support within the international community and the United Nations.

The destructive impact of terrorist bombings and the failure to dismantle the organizations and infrastructure that encourage these acts have slowed progress on the roadmap, but we will not be deterred.

We have repeatedly urged Israel and the Palestinian Authority to avoid actions that can lead to a further heightening of tension in the Middle East and think carefully about the consequences of their actions.

In addition, senior U.S. Administration officials are engaging directly with Israel on the matter of the fence. For its part, the United States, with its Quartet partners, remain committed to the implementation of President Bush's vision of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as set forth in the roadmap.

I now resume my function as President of the Council.


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