Terming the resolution of the Arab-Israel conflict as key to a just and durable peace in the Middle East
Islamabad: Ambassador Haroon warned that the increased illegal settlement activity, settler attacks, Gaza blockade and vandalization of holy sites, were on tenterhooks, and a small ignition could turn it into a fire that could threaten regional stability. says a press release received here today from New York.
The Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the United Nations, Ambassador Abdullah Hussain Haroon said this while speaking in a debate at the Security Council on “ Situation in the Middle East: Challenges and Opportunities” on Monday. The Ambassador called for urgent action by the Security Council in order to avoid escalation of tensions in the region. The recent spate of reform in the Middle East, he reiterated, should not pass the Palestinians by.
Speaking about the Arab Spring, Ambassador Haroon said that Pakistan fully supported the fulfilment of legitimate aspirations of peoples. The process, he added, had to be within the confines of international law and provisions of the Charter of the United Nations.
The Ambassador further said that concepts like interference in internal affairs of sovereign States and regime change were against the ethos of international good neighbourliness. The concept of spring, by its nature, was peaceful and gradual, and it should neither be forced nor abrupt, he added.
“Pakistan fully supports a locally driven reform process, and condemns violence and violations of human rights wherever they are committed, and irrespective of who the perpetrators are”. Ambassador Haroon refuted the trite canard that Islam and democracy are incompatible.
He cited the Islamic concepts of brotherhood, equality and seeking knowledge, and emphasized that Muslim societies already were blessed and, therefore, did not need outside mentoring. Ambassador Haroon also asked for peaceful resolution of Iranian nuclear issue.
The debate on the situation in the Middle East was convened by the UK, in its capacity as the President of the Council for the month of March, and was also attended by the Secretary General of the United Nations, as well as the Foreign Ministers of the UK, USA, Russia, France, Portugal, Germany and Guatemala.
Following is the full text of Ambassador Abdullah Hussain Haroon Speech at the Security Council
Statement by Ambassador Abdullah Hussain Haroon
Permanent Representative of Pakistan
in the debate of the Security Council on
“Situation in the Middle East: Challenges and opportunities”
New York (12 March 2012)
Thanks you Mr. President,
We warmly welcome Mr. William Hague and the British PR for convening today’s high-level debate. I would also like to take this opportunity to welcome the Secretary-General and the Hon’ble Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the United States, France, Russia, Germany, Guatemala and Portugal.
Sitting in this house today, I start off by referring to your distinguished compatriot in Cambridge Mr. Stephen Hawkins and his fraternity who are with him charting the universe, especially in the demarcation of dark spaces. These dark spaces constitute the vast majority of the universe today and in this forum today, I witnessed such spaces in many long diatribes with so much said, and yet not said. Hawkins has cautioned all of us that although these dark spaces constitute the vast majority of the universe, they are not dormant spaces. These vast spaces will, one day, unleash their silent fury in time, and he cautions us to be prepared. I believe that we should also be prepared on what we say or dare not say in this house today.
In North Africa and the Middle East we have witnessed important developments. My country firmly believes in fulfilment of the aspirations of the people. Their rights to be the masters of their own destiny, to speak as well as to be heard, and to know, are legitimate aspirations, and no effort should be spared in accommodating this. We therefore strongly condemn the use of force against peaceful protesters and violations of human rights, wherever they are committed, and irrespective of who the perpetrators are. It is a matter of principle.
Being a democratic country, firmly committed to the ideals, values, and principles of the United Nations, we believe that legitimate aspirations of people should be accommodated peacefully, without external interference, and in a manner consistent with sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity of States.
Today, in support of those embattled societies, I once again repeat, no movement in the world succeeds without external help, including great revolutions. You cannot stroke them out with a pen. Anyone who seeks to rationalize their principled position, riding on the high horse of morality, truly needs to narrow distances, treading slowly on what they may call lowly grounds.
The support that we extend to the legitimate wishes of people has to be within the confines of the international law and the United Nations Charter. Interference in internal affairs of sovereign States, and supporting concepts like regime change are alien to the ethos of the international good neighbourliness.
The changes in the region have often been referred to as the Arab Spring. The concept of spring brings forth images of rebirth, change and renewal, of warmth and beauty. It should have an air of tranquillity and harmony about it. It is a natural process that can neither be forced nor be abrupt. Winter evolves into spring and spring brings an end to winter’s harshness. This natural process of evolution must therefore be allowed to take its course.
So, we welcome change when it is locally led, peaceful and is an expression of the aspirations of the people. Solutions to problems have to be found by the people themselves, and not I repeat not, imposed from outside.
The Jordanian Foreign Minister, Nasser Judeh, made a remarkable statement at the Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Parliament on 29 February, and I again quote “there is no complete Arab Spring or Arab awakening without peace in the Middle East. And there will never be peace in the Middle East without a solution to the Israeli- Palestinian conflict.” This, in the context of my speech, is the winter of discontent in the Arab world. Can we usher in a vast spring with this winter consistently raising its head.
Denial of the Palestinian right to self-determination is at the heart of unrest in the region. For lasting peace in the Middle East, progress on Syria-Israel and Lebanon-Israel conflicts is necessary as well. Israel must withdraw completely from occupied Lebanese land and the Syrian Golan, in compliance with relevant General Assembly and Security Council Resolutions.
With the continuation of the Israeli settlement activity, hope for the Palestinians to have a viable State of their own is fading fast. We have had grim reminders of that delivered to us by the recent briefings from the Department of Political Affairs, as well as a number of member States.
There is a general belief that the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory is becoming increasingly volatile. Factors like ever increasing settlement activity as well as settler violence, continued blockade of Gaza, diminishing economic prospects for the population, vandalization of the holy sites, plight of the Palestinian prisoners etc mean that people are at tenterhooks. A small ignition can turn into a big fire. We also condemn any pipe bombs being fired from Gaza.
That, we believe, may form the biggest threat to international peace and security. Yet the Council continues not to do anything cogent for the Palestinians. Each time we meet, we are told that the Quartet is discussing the matter.
I am waiting for the day when the Quartet produced a result that will substantially change the plight of these people. For Gaza, we should take a flotilla and land it on their beaches with food and supplies that they require, under the auspices of the United Nations. We strongly feel that now is as appropriate a time as any to send a strong and unified signal to the occupying power to stop its illegal activities like land grabbing.
I would like to raise another matter that is continuously referred to, and dispel once and for all, about the incompatibility of Islam and democracy. They are not incompatible. It is only Huntington who believes so. Our Prophet PBUH called all Muslims brothers, and then asked them to share their surpluses and share their shortcomings.
There is no better manifestation of democracy. Muslims were asked to reach out to the world in peace, and for knowledge and wisdom to China. When it became difficult for them to live in Makkah, he asked his fellow Muslims to go the King of Ethiopia for help, and he happened to be a Christian. This vast reach out shows the beauty of the religion. We should not, therefore, confer too much distinction to Huntington.
I will conclude by reiterating our support for the Palestinian people in their just struggle for peace and right to self determination and their membership of the UN at the earliest. We feel that the biggest challenge of the Middle East is Palestine. The opportunity that is being afforded by this wave of fulfilment of aspirations of the people of Middle East, should not be lost for the Palestinians. I reiterate that, without resolution of this core issue, we would not be able to see real peace in the region.
Lastly, I delve on the five crucial points raised by the Secretary General in his report. First is for the leaders to embark on the path of reform. A great American friend many years ago spoke of the four freedoms.
I believe that there should be a basic content of the UN, of the GA and this Council, of what constitutes the basic elements of democratic requirement of statehood, and the principles enshrined in it. On rights of women, we have just celebrated the Women’ Day.
They are a majority in this world. Women have a crucial role to play. Women have a right to sit on the table, and to have a role in decision making. This is happening now in the Arab Spring. Last week we met a group of eight women from Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen. We heard these women and were shocked. One of the things that they said was that 25% of all financing of the UN must be earmarked for delivery into the hands of women.
They should also form 25% of them to the UN. They have sacrificed so much for the Arab Spring, and this opportunity should be accorded to them to be a part of this change. As for youth, we have 200 million more in Asia. Their role in reform cannot be underestimated. As for regional plan, let’s not forget the Palestinians. There was a Balfour Pact for the Israelis. Let there now be a Balfour Pact for the Palestinians.
In the end, in the context of world peace, I would like to stress that it would be better for this region, and the whole world if the situation in Iran moves away from conflict. This kind of conflict may have a very serious impact on the world. It might be the proverbial last straw that broke the camel’s back. I hope we understand the seriousness of the situation, and also hope that the accumulated diplomacy here can do better.
I thank you
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