At UN Qatari leader urges comprehensive Mideast peace through Israeli withdrawal

Israel’s withdrawal from all occupied territories is essential to achieving comprehensive peace in the Middle East, a top official from Qatar told the United Nations General Assembly today.Declaring that the Arab-Israeli conflict and the Palestinian question must be “accorded top priority,” Sheikh Tamim bin hamad Al-Thani, the Heir Apparent of Qatar, noted that the issue has been on the agenda of the Security Council and the General Assembly for more than 50 years.“The international community must revisit its position towards a fundamental issue that it has left unresolved for over half a century, which has compounded the tragedy of the Palestinian people,” he said.The world has a collective duty to oblige Israel to implement UN resolutions, he said, adding: “The Palestinian people must be enabled to exercise their right to self-determination and establish their independent State with Jerusalem as its capital.”A comprehensive settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict should be achieved “based on Israel’s withdrawal from all the territories it occupied in 1967, including the Syrian Golan Heights and the Lebanese Shebaa farms,” he said, stressing that “the guarantee to permanent peace, security and stability in the region lies in making the Middle East a region free from all weapons of mass destruction without any exceptions.”Echoing this view, the Foreign Minister of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, voiced deep concern about the continued inability of the international community to solve the Palestinian question and establish peace in the Middle East. He said this “encouraged Israel to continue its occupation of the Palestinian territories, Shebaa Farms and Syrian Golan, and repeat its aggressions on various levels.”The UN should respond to the recent initiative of the League of Arab States calling on the world body to play an effective role in reviving the peace process in the Middle East, and resuming direct negotiations on all tracks. “We also affirm that consolidation of peace and stability in the Middle East region cannot be achieved through military power or the continued and deliberate destruction of the infrastructure in the Palestinian territories and Lebanon, but through compelling Israel to ensure its full compliance to the international resolutions, including resumption of negotiations with the Palestinian Authority, and release of the Palestinian funds and thousands of the Palestinian detainees and prisoners,” he said.He also said Israel must “open the crossing points to secure delivery of emergency humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian people, remove settlements and the separation wall, and ensure its full withdrawal from all the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, in order to declare the establishment of an independent Palestinian State with its capital as Al Quds Al Sharif.”Abubakr Al-Qirbi, Yemen’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, decried the war in Lebanon and blamed Israeli aggression for “countless” deaths, including among women and children. The international community should hold that war machine accountable for its atrocities and massacres and demand that Israel withdraw from all Arab territories, particularly in Palestine, he said.He also called on the international community to press the Security Council to act equitably and fairly to end the Arab-Israeli conflict, warning that if it did not, the world would collectively bear the responsibility for the continuing violence and death.Sheikh Mohammad Al-Sabah Al-Salem Al-Sabah, Kuwait’s Foreign Minister, said his country supports all of Iraq’s efforts to rebuild, confront security problems and achieve national reconciliation. “We hope the international community will multiply its efforts to support the endeavours of the Iraqi Government and those of the League of Arab States to achieve security and stability in Iraq, which in turn, will contribute to achieving peace and security in the region,” he said.Stressing the importance of a democratic, secure, stable and prosperous Iraq, he welcomed “the prosecution of key elements of the previous Iraqi regime, for their inhuman crimes committed against the Iraqi and Kuwaiti peoples, crimes represented in their invasion of Kuwait, and their killing of Kuwaiti captives and citizens of other nationals.” These criminals, he said, should “receive their just punishment in the near future.”

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