12 September 2006

General Assembly Adopts Resolution on Strategy to Counter International Terrorism

Also Approves Texts on Peacebuilding Fund, Elimination of Sexual Abuse in Peacekeeping Operations, Revitalizing Assembly

NEW YORK, 8 September (UN Headquarters) -- Heeding the appeal of General Assembly President Jan Eliasson, Member States united around a sweeping strategy to combat international terrorism today, which it decided to launch at the high-level segment of its upcoming session this month.

Mr. Eliasson said that, by taking that decisive action today and adopting the strategy -- which formed a basis for a concrete plan of action to address the conditions conducive to terrorism, and prevent and combat terrorism, while respecting human rights -- the Assembly sent a strong message that it was ready to shoulder its responsibility to act in the spirit of the Charter on a growing global menace.

Member States tangibly demonstrated that the Assembly could take assertive actions on one of the most serious threats to their common and individual security, he said.  They owed that to the hundreds of thousands of people who had, through the years directly or indirectly, suffered the effects of terrorism in all its forms.  The strategy thus must remain a "living document", as many of the measures could be achieved immediately.  Some would require sustained work through the coming years.  Some yet, were long-term tasks and objectives.

Built into the resolution adopted today, for example, was a provision in which the Assembly could examine, in two years, progress made in implementing the strategy and could consider updating it to respond to changes.  Among the other highlights in the long-awaited text was the possible creation of an international centre to fight terrorism.  Also, the United Nations, together with Member States, was invited to develop a comprehensive database on biological incidents, ensuring that it was complementary to the biocrimes database contemplated by the International Criminal Police Organization.  And, border controls would be stepped up to prevent terrorists from crossing State lines or smuggling arms such as nuclear weapons.

Despite the resolution's consensus adoption, a number of speakers regretted that it had not included a definition of terrorism or any specific reference to State terrorism.  The Strategy should have distinguished between terrorism and the legitimate rights of people to determine their own future, they said.

Still, it was generally felt that the Strategy's condemnation of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations signalled the will of the international community that it would no longer tolerate the actions of the sponsors of terrorism or of those whose who wilfully failed to prevent terrorists from using their territories.  In the end, it was hoped that the strategy would provide the impetus to unite the international community in its fight against terrorism via practical measures that facilitated cooperation by way of extradition, prosecution, information flows and capacity-building.

Also acting without a vote, the Assembly adopted draft resolutions on:  its revitalization; the Peacebuilding Fund; and the elimination of sexual exploitation and abuse in United Nations peacekeeping operations.

Japan's representative explained his delegation's position after the adoption of the text on revitalization of the General Assembly and Turkey's representative spoke in explanation of position following approval of the text on the Peacebuilding Fund.

Speaking in explanations of position following the decision to launch the global counter-terrorism strategy were the representatives of Syria, Cuba, South Africa, Venezuela, Pakistan, Iran, Sudan, India, Lebanon, Israel and Libya.

The representatives of Lebanon and Syria spoke in exercise of the right of reply.

The Assembly is scheduled to meet again on Monday, 11 September, to conclude its sixtieth session.


Delegates in the General Assembly had before them the report of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Revitalization of the General Assembly (document A/60/999), annexed to which is a draft resolution divided into three clusters:  role and authority of the General Assembly; selection of the Secretary-General; and working methods.

Under the first cluster, the Assembly would urge the Presidents of the General Assembly, the Economic and Social Council and the Security Council to meet periodically to ensure increased cooperation and coordination of their work programmes in accordance with their respective Charter responsibilities.  The Assembly would encourage the holding of thematic interactive debates on current issues of critical importance to the international community, and invite its President to propose themes for them, in consultation with Member States.

Also by the text, the Assembly would invite the Security Council to further its initiatives to improve the quality of its annual report to the General Assembly so as to provide it with a substantive and analytical report.  It would invite the Council to provide a regular update on the steps it has taken or is contemplating with respect to improving its reporting to the Assembly.  The Council would also be invited to submit periodically special subject-oriented reports for the General Assembly's consideration on issues of current international concern.  The Assembly would invite the Economic and Social Council to strive to make its report to the General Assembly more concise and action-oriented by highlighting the critical areas requiring Assembly action and by making specific recommendations for consideration by Member States.

Further by the text, the General Assembly would urge the Secretariat to continue its endeavours to raise the Assembly's visibility and, to that end, request the rearrangement of items in the Journal of the United Nations so that listings of Assembly plenary meetings and other major events may appear alongside those of the Security Council.  It would also request the Department of Public Information, in cooperation with countries concerned and with the relevant United Nations entities, to continue to enhance world public awareness of the General Assembly's work.

Under the second cluster, the Assembly would emphasize the need for the selection of the Secretary-General to be inclusive of all Member States and made more transparent and, in the course of identifying and appointing the best candidate for the post, for due regard to be given to regional rotation and gender equality.  It would emphasize the importance of candidates for the position possessing and displaying commitment to the purposes and principles of the Charter, extensive leadership, and administrative and diplomatic experience.

With respect to the third cluster, the Assembly would decide to give due consideration to those recommendations of the Main Committees regarding the improvement of their working methods and the allocation of agenda items requiring the Assembly's approval for their implementation.  The Assembly would also decide to invite the President of the sixty-first session to convene consultations among Member States to decide on the establishment of an ad hoc working group on the revitalization of the General Assembly, to identify ways to further enhance its role, authority, effectiveness and efficiency.

Also before the Assembly was a report of the Secretary-General entitled "Arrangements for establishing the Peacebuilding Fund" (document A/60/984), flowing from the recognition of Member States that a key objective of the Peacebuilding Fund was to ensure the immediate release of resources needed to launch peacebuilding activities.  The Fund is designed to support interventions that are considered critical to the peacebuilding process.  It does not seek to address all peacebuilding requirements in a given situation; rather, it aims to have a catalytic effect that will pave the way for the sustained support and engagement of other key stakeholders.  The Fund will be managed by the head of the Peacebuilding Support Office, under the Secretary-General's authority.

The report also says that the assistance provided by the Fund will be used to support peacebuilding activities that directly contribute to the stabilization of countries emerging from conflict.  In that context, the Fund will be used to carry out critical peacebuilding-related interventions to facilitate the implementation of peace agreements, strengthen a country's capacities to promote peaceful resolution of conflicts and respond to threats that might lead to the recurrence of conflict.

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) will assume the Fund's management, the report further explains.  The Programme will act as fund manager or administrative agent, with primary responsibility for maintaining the Fund's accounts.  The Fund will thus be managed in accordance with UNDP regulations, rules, directives and procedures.  A formal agreement detailing the relationship between UNDP and the Secretary-General will be developed in due course.

The report goes on to say that the General Assembly and the Peacebuilding Commission will have a role in the governance arrangements for the Fund.  An independent advisory group of eminent personalities with peacebuilding experience will also be appointed to provide the Secretary-General with appropriate advice on strengthening the functioning and use of the Fund.  The use of the Fund will be actively monitored by the Peacebuilding Support Office.

The recommendations by Member States to establish the Fund should contribute to addressing a critical gap that is particularly common immediately following the signing of peace agreements, the Secretary-General says in the report.  It is during this time that many Governments require a swift injection of resources to enable them to pursue critical peacebuilding programmes to consolidate the peace process.  The resources from the Fund, combined with the efforts of the Peacebuilding Commission, will help to ensure that post-conflict countries continue to benefit from the sustained attention and support of the international community.  In that light, Member States are invited to support the Fund and are encouraged to regularly contribute to it to ensure that it effectively addresses the critical peacebuilding activities of countries emerging from conflict.

Also before the Assembly was the report of the Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization) on the comprehensive review of the whole question of peacekeeping operations in all their aspects (document A/60/478/Add.2).

Action on Texts

When the General Assembly opened its afternoon meeting, it adopted the draft resolution on its revitalization without a vote (document A/60/999).

Speaking after the adoption, Japan's representative said that a strong and timely General Assembly was in the common interest.  He had, therefore, taken an active part in the discussion on that agenda item.  All Member States should feel entitled to participate in that exercise; however, he had noticed some irregularities.  The item had been discussed for the past 15 years, each year.  Some real progress had been achieved, about which everyone should be proud.  But, there was a principle of diminishing returns in economics, and in this matter, the fruits of the labours were becoming more marginal.  Thus, in the next rounds of talks, consideration should be given to biennializing the exercise.

Next, the Assembly adopted the draft on the Peacebuilding Fund (document A/60/L.63), also without a vote.

After the text's adoption, Turkey's representative said that the establishment of the Peacebuilding Commission had been a historic achievement of the United Nations reform agenda.  Coupled with that achievement had been the establishment of the Peacebuilding Support Office and Fund.  Indeed, the Fund was expected to generate support and ensure the immediate release of resources needed to launch peacebuilding activities.  As such, the Fund would play a crucial role for the success of post-conflict recovery efforts, particularly in Africa.  His Government had made a voluntary contribution of $800,000 to the Fund in July.  Turkey had been pleased to co-sponsor the draft resolution.

Introduction of Draft on Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy

Introducing the text (document A/60/L.62), Assembly President JAN ELIASSON (Sweden) said that, if adopted, the strategy would reaffirm and strengthen the Assembly's role in the work of countering terrorism.  That was imperative since the scourge of terrorism affected all.  The strategy formed a basis for a concrete plan of action:  to address the conditions conducive to terrorism; to prevent and combat terrorism; to take measures to build State capacity; to strengthen the role of the United Nations; and to ensure respect for human rights.

He said that the resolution would constitute the foundation from which the Assembly's role could be further developed.  The Assembly would examine at its sixty-second session the progress made in implementing the strategy and consider updating it to respond to a changing environment.

The strategy thus must remain a "living document", he said.  In considering the strategy, the Assembly should keep in mind that many of the measures could be achieved immediately.  Some would require sustained work through the coming years.  Some, yet, were long-term tasks and objectives.

He said that two factors made it incumbent upon the Assembly and its Members to take decisive action and unite around a United Nations global counter-terrorism strategy.  One was the clear mandate given by our leaders in the Summit Outcome.  The other was the reality of terrorism -- its continued violent and tragic manifestation in all its forms.

By taking decisive action today and adopting the strategy, a strong message would once again be sent that the Assembly was ready to shoulder its responsibility to act in the spirit of the Charter on a growing global menace, he said.  Member States would tangibly demonstrate that the Assembly could take assertive actions on one of the most serious threats to their common and individual security.  That they owed to the hundreds of thousands of people who had, through the years, directly or indirectly, suffered the effects of terrorism in all its forms.

He urged the Members to adopt the strategy by consensus.  By so doing, they would strengthen the mandate given to the Assembly.  "We need to stand united in the international fight against terrorism", he stressed.

Everyone was aware of the contentious issues that had plagued the terrorism discussion for a long time, he went on.  The strategy was not intended either to avoid or to solve those controversies, but rather to address them by building on already agreed language.  It recognized that those were important matters, which should continue to be discussed in relevant forums.

He wished to underline some important issues one again.  First, it was important to build on the consistent and unequivocal and strong condemnation of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, committed by whomever, wherever and for whatever purposes, as that constituted one of the most serious threats to international peace and security.  The United Nations had conceptualized and developed the issue of conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism.  It was vital for the common endeavour that it addressed those conditions in a serious and comprehensive manner.  Strong national capacity was a cornerstone of all global counter-terrorism efforts.  Actors should be brought together to enhance the capabilities of all States to secure their own territories.  The United Nations system, other international, regional and subregional organizations and Member States all had a role to play.

He stressed the need to uphold the highest standards in the promotion and protection of human rights while countering terrorism.  An entire section had been devoted to the respect of human rights and the rule of law, both at national and international levels.  It must also be ensured that any action taken to combat terrorism would comply with all obligations under international law.  The plan of action set out a number of practical and operational measures that would enhance the efforts to fight terrorism.  Those included the call for Member States, as well as the United Nations system, to step up their efforts and strengthen their counter-terrorism measures in a number of concrete areas.

He said that the resolution was his and his co-chairs' best attempt to reach a consensus agreement.  The text had been carefully crafted, and every word had been scrutinized.  No delegation in the room had gotten all it had wanted.  Some had wanted more, some less.  But the text, in his view, was balanced.

"Let us now unite around this strategy and have it launched at a high-level segment of the General Assembly later this month.  And let us then start implementing it", he urged.

He thanked Secretary-General Kofi Annan, present during the meeting for consideration of the draft resolution, for his support of and inspiration to the Assembly's efforts.  The Assembly knew how thoroughly and intensely he and the Secretariat had worked with those difficult issues.

Action on Draft Resolution

Then, the Assembly adopted the draft resolution on the global counter-terrorism strategy (document A/60/L.62) without a vote.

Explanations of Vote

The representative of Syria, reaffirming his country's firm rejection of all forms and manifestations of terrorism, said it had long called for an international conference to define terrorism and make a distinction between terrorism on the one hand and the right of people to resist foreign occupation on the other.  Syria supported a comprehensive and unambiguous international strategy which could not be used for political purposes.  Having worked from the outset with the Working Group, his Government had called for the establishment of a comprehensive strategy with a ceiling that was a lot higher than had been accomplished by the text just adopted, which, though seemingly positive, should entail a real fight against terrorism, including State terrorism.  That was not reflected in the text just adopted.

Furthermore, the text was not fully consensual since decisions had been adopted through mediation and not directly by Member States, he said.  One of the most problematic parts of the text was its lack of a clear definition of terrorism, which meant that its implementation would be based on the interpretation of States, which naturally entailed variations.  Establishing a legal definition of terrorism was a precondition for such a strategy, which must distinguish the legitimate rights of people to determine their own future.  The world had recently witnessed the Israeli actions against Lebanon and the Palestinians, most of them women and children.  The lack of a clear condemnation of those actions necessarily weakened the resolution, and regrettably, those victims of State terrorism had not found their way into the text.  The strategy was not an alternative to a comprehensive definition of terrorism, and the Syrian proposal presented since the 1980s should be given the necessary attention as quickly as possible.

The representative of Cuba reiterated her country's deepest rejection of all forms and manifestations of terrorism by whomsoever, and for whatever purposes, including those of States.  Cuba had participated actively in drawing up the strategy but felt that its future implementation should be perfected in future to clear up ambiguities.  While Cuba was not happy that the text contained no clear and precise definition of terrorism, that would provide an incentive to define the strategy in the future with a view to ending double standards.

She said her country had joined the consensus as a demonstration of its firm commitment to defend multilateralism.  Cuba welcomed the strategy's inclusion of language condemning all kinds of terrorism.  The document was an appropriate balance between the roles of the General Assembly and the Security Council and also referred to key anti-terrorism documents and instruments that were in full effect today.  Cuba was also happy to see the inclusion of terms referring to marginalization and the non-granting of asylum.  The strategy was also a clear signal to those who indulged in torture and other such illegal practices.  Terrorism must be fought by the international community as a whole.

The representative of South Africa said the process had been difficult, and the draft reflected the compromises made by Member States.  While it might not totally address the concerns raised previously by the South African and other delegations, the process was not about victors and losers, but rather about developing a coherent global counter-terrorism strategy.  South Africa supported the current draft but continued to have concerns regarding the strategy's failure to address State terrorism, extrajudicial killings, extraordinary rendition and illegal detention.

Specifically, he said, the first operative paragraph of the Plan of Action, which was closely based on the language from the World Summit Outcome document, should not be interpreted as a basis for the definition of terrorism or an attempt to exclude the right of national liberation movements to resist foreign occupation.  Also, paragraph 4 of section 1 of the Plan of Action on terror incitement referred to "our obligations under international law to prohibit by law incitement to commit a terrorist act or acts and prevent such conduct".  Such an international law obligation, if it existed, did not arise from Security Council resolution 1624 (2005), which was non-binding.

Turning to paragraph 5 of section II, he said it referred to the need to curb the illicit trade in man-portable air defence systems.  That issue would ideally be dealt with under disarmament processes, and South Africa's acceptance of the resolution was without prejudice to its position in future disarmament discussion on that question.  In addition, paragraph 7 of section II appeared to undermine the right of asylum and would also be practically difficult to implement.

He said that the proposal to create a "single comprehensive database on biological incidents" and to update rosters of experts and laboratories and to bring together all biotechnology stakeholders should not be used to undermine the sovereignty of developing countries and their right to exploit biotechnology for peaceful purposes.  There were also questions about how that ambitious project would be funded.  Furthermore, that proposal should not be used to create an enabling platform for intrusive actions by the Security Council, for example, restricting access to biotechnology or requiring inspections of commercially sensitive sites.

South Africa was also concerned, he said, at the invitation to the Security Council (paragraph 17 of section II) to develop guidelines for the necessary cooperation and assistance in the event of a terrorist attack using weapons of mass destruction.  It was expected that there would be consultation with the General Assembly on that issue.  Finally, South Africa wished to see a focused implementation of section V on Human Rights and International Law to ensure that human rights were at the centre of the counter-terrorism strategy.

Venezuela's representative joined with all members in the adoption of the text.  That urgent response to the terrorism scourge was needed, but the resolution did not specifically mention the violent acts of some States seeking to guarantee the submission of other peoples.  It, therefore, left State terrorism in an "ambiguous terrain".  Hopefully, that would not be left ambiguous in the comprehensive convention on terrorism, which must not protect the strong and condemn the weak.  He had some specific reservations in the section on the spread of terrorism.  For example, foreign occupation as a cause of terrorism could not be ignored, as acts of terrorism generated terrorism.  He also had reservations about the issue of good governance because that term had no precise definition and always left open doubt in his mind.  Terms such as those laid themselves open to a double standard, especially as they applied to the South.

The speaker from Pakistan said that the most important aspect of the strategy was that it was dynamic and would be implemented by the Assembly.  Among the other positive aspects was the full-fledged section on conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism.  The conceptualization and development of the root causes of terrorism would help to eliminate the motivation for the terrorist acts.  The list of conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism was not exhaustive.  At least the text had acknowledged that prolonged unresolved conflicts were a root cause of terrorism.  Those conflicts arose mainly from foreign occupation and denial of the right of a people to self-determination.  Those root causes must be addressed and overcome vigorously if the strategy was to succeed.

He said that the strategy rightly recalled that the 2005 World Summit Outcome document had supported all efforts to uphold the right to self-determination of all peoples under colonial domination and foreign occupation.  The strategy also addressed the problem of foreign occupation in the preamble.  In addressing that important root cause of terrorism, "we have moved a step forward".  The strategy also acknowledged that socio-economic marginalization created conditions conducive to terrorism's spread.  He supported the Assembly President's views that those conditions should be dealt with comprehensively, but the Assembly needed to develop appropriate strategies to transform those ideas into actions.

Regarding the Security Council sanctions committees, he said that they lacked due process and the right to effective remedy.  Hopefully, those and other problems would be addressed.  At the same time, the strategy did not address all of his concerns.  For example, Pakistan could not accept NPT-related obligations, as reflected in the text, since it was not a party to that Treaty.  Concerning biological weapons, those were primarily a concern in the industrially advanced States, owing to those countries' extensive use of biological agents.  The Biological Weapons Convention, therefore, should be strengthened, particularly by reviving talks for a verification protocol.  The Convention's conference was the best forum in which to agree to such solutions, including on bioterrorism threats.

Iran's representative said that, as a demonstration of its firm support of the struggle against terrorism, he had joined consensus, despite his many reservations to the text.  The strategy's substance was of great importance for the key role to be played by the United Nations in countering terrorism.  It was imperative that the strategy laid the groundwork for future comprehensive activities.  However, the strategy fell short of meeting all the necessary requirements and would complicate universal efforts towards combating terrorism.  It was imperfect, as it failed to appropriately address the situation conducive to the spread of terrorism.

He cited as one example that the draft failed to refer to State terrorism, whose upsurge had been on display in the past few months in Palestine and Lebanon.  Unilateral military policies that gave rise to terrorism had been overlooked in the text, and foreign occupation had also been omitted.  Iraq and Afghanistan were cases in point.  There was no doubt that the military interventions in those countries had fuelled terrorism in the region.  He reiterated the importance of General Assembly resolution A/46/51, which reaffirmed the inalienable right to self-determination and the independence of all peoples living under colonial and racist regimes and other forms of alien domination and foreign occupation.  The draft had also not satisfied the need in other ways for laying the foundations for a truly global response to the global terrorism scourge.  Nevertheless, he thanked the Assembly President and co-chairs for their serious efforts to craft the text.

The representative of the Sudan said that several important amendments to the text had been proposed but they had not been taken into consideration, leaving the document weak.  For example, it did not have a definition of terrorism, which was a clear loophole that opened the door for politicization.  Others concerned foreign occupation and State terrorism.  There had clearly been a rush to adopt the text before the end of the current General Assembly, which had resulted in the failure to adopt a consistent resolution.  The Sudan had not wished to oppose the consensus and wished that fact to be reflected in the record.

The representative of India said his delegation would have liked to see the United Nations convey a far stronger counter-terrorism message.  The strategy should send a strong and clear signal to terrorists that their actions would not be tolerated, irrespective of the motivations underlying them.  Just today, terrorists had killed more than 35 people in Malegaon, India, a senseless slaughter of innocents that reinforced the point that the international community must not yield to terrorism, but must resolutely confront it everywhere and at all levels.  No consideration could ever justify the targeted killing of innocent men and women or children and, in that regard, India would like to see the retention of paragraph 11 of the 31 July draft, which unequivocally asserted that criminal acts of terrorism intended or calculated to provoke a State of terror in the general public, a group of persons or particular persons for political purposes were, in any circumstances, unjustifiable, whatever the considerations of a political, philosophical, ideological, racial, ethnic, religious or other nature that may be invoked to justify them.  That widely accepted and well-known principle should have been reflected in the strategy.

He said that the strategy's condemnation of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations signalled the will of the international community that it would no longer tolerate the actions of the sponsors of terrorism or of those who wilfully failed to prevent terrorists from using their territories.  A strong response to terrorism required broad-based international cooperation, reducing the space for terrorists and increasing the capability of States to address terrorist threats.  It required sustained and specific cooperation by a variety of national, regional and global agencies.  It was to be hoped that the strategy would provide the impetus to unite the international community in its fight against terrorism via practical measures that facilitated cooperation by way of extradition, prosecution, information flows and capacity-building.  India had gone along with the current process while remaining convinced that the Comprehensive Convention against International Terrorism, now under negotiation, would have provided the requisite legal framework upon which a counter-terrorism strategy could have been based.

The representative of Lebanon, emphasizing her country's condemnation of all forms of terrorism, whatever the source, said the strategy was a very important step, but it was not enough.  It should have included a definition of terrorism, a distinction between terrorism and resistance, as well as the need to deal with conditions leading to terrorism.  The strategy should be a living document that could be amended and developed so as to accommodate changing circumstances.

Israel's representative said that the launch of a counter-terrorism strategy was an important step forward in the war on terrorism.  Terrorism was entirely unacceptable; there could be no pretext, no justification for it.  Combating terrorism, however, required the full cooperation of Member States with the Security Council's subsidiary counter-terrorism bodies.  It must be ensured that the relevant Council resolutions were enforced and that measures were taken against Member States that supported and harboured terrorists.  Regrettably, certain proposals suggested by the Secretary-General in his report had been omitted from the strategy but, in the future, those might better equip the international community in the fight against global terrorism.

He said that, in Israel, unfortunately, Israelis continued to experience the realities of terrorism daily.  In the past few months, Israel had been confronted by terrorist attacks in the north, instigated by Hizbollah and sponsored by two Member States that had just spoken a few minutes ago -- Syria and Iran -- and by terrorist attacks in the south by Hamas.  Those attacks had been fully supported by the same countries.  Terrorism remained a serious threat to Israel and to the entire world.  Although Israel had developed measures to counter it, having thwarted thousands of attacks in the past five years, only through international cooperation would terrorism be effectively confronted and eventually eliminated.

For a growing number of States, terrorism was no longer an abstract idea, he continued.  Terrorism touched everyone in Israel.  He had personally been wounded by international terrorism and he had lost loved ones to it.  To those who tried to justify terrorism, terrorists or their supporters and protectors, he said, "no, there is no justification, whatsoever".  Adoption today of the strategy had affirmed that terrorism could not be effectively combated by a handful of States.  It remained a moral imperative to fight that dangerous phenomenon.

Libya's representative said that the text contained some very important elements towards combating terrorism, yet some had not been dealt with clearly.  Most important among them had been the absence of a definition of terrorism and of a distinction between terrorism and the struggle of people for self-determination and freedom.  Moreover, the definition of State terrorism, considered to be one source of terrorism, was also absent.  Hopefully, any new negotiations aimed at reaching a comprehensive global agreement would address those.

Statements in Right of Reply

Speaking in exercise of the right of reply, Lebanon's representative said he regretted not being able to spare the Assembly's time with unwanted discussions aimed at building a better future for the world's peoples, but, unfortunately, one delegate had not wanted to miss an opportunity to offend its neighbours; that was part of its culture and tradition.  It was his responsibility to tell the truth.

He said that the Israeli invasions against his country in 1972, 1978, 1982, 1986, 1993, 1996 -- everyone remembered the carnage at Qana -- and in 2006, and the great number of civilian victims and the huge level of destruction inflicted on his country was, bluntly termed, evil.

Lebanon's resistance and Hizbollah were the ones with the guts to stand up to that evil.  Hizbollah was being blamed today because it dared to say to the Israelis, "Stand away from the sun."  Lebanon wanted to see the sun and the light of liberty.  For one month, its people had been subjected to the harshest aggression any country could be subjected to.  If those Israeli acts were not called State terrorism, he did not know what was.  The General Assembly should consider issues constructive to the future of all people and of the Organization.

Syria's speaker said that Israel was always trying to show a false picture and a false image.  It had not succeeded in that and would never succeed because of its brutal image of evil and terrorism.  No statement could rectify that brutal and evil image.  Israel had been established on the basis of terrorism and action by Zionist gangs.  The State terrorism of Israel began then and continued today.

He said that his Lebanese colleague had eloquently reflected several instances of that evil aggression.  He could recall many more, but he would not waste the Assembly's time, especially at a moment when everyone had agreed to combat terrorism.  It was a time to respect the need to fight international terrorism and to deal with its roots, including State terrorism.  The strategy just adopted must be implemented immediately, and addressing the roots of terrorism -- namely, ending occupation -- must be implemented.  Israel was trying to hide the sun, but the sun would continue to shine.

Action on Text

Next, acting on the recommendation of its Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization Committee) without a vote, the Assembly adopted the draft resolution on a strategy to eliminate future sexual exploitation and abuse in United Nations peacekeeping operations contained in report A/60/478/Add.2.

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