|Special Meeting of the Coordinating Bureau of the Non-Aligned Movement to Commemorate the 60th Anniversary “Al Nakba”|
|Friday, 03 October 2008 16:26|
Statement made by the Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka at the Special Meeting of the Coordinating Bureau of the Non-Aligned Movement to Commemorate the 60th Anniversary “Al Nakba” on 3rd October, 2008
At the outset I wish to thank you Mr. Chairman for this opportunity to commemorate the 60th Anniversary of Al Nakba. Sri Lanka does so as a country that has close friendship with Palestine and also in our capacity as the Chair of the Committee on Israeli Practices, a role I personally have the honour to perform assisted by my colleagues the distinguished Ambassadors of Malaysia and Senegal. As the Palestine people continue to struggle in their effort to achieve a peaceful solution to their problems, it is natural for us, the peoples of the United Nations to remember the agony and anguish of nearly a million people who were at the receiving end of the partition of the Palestinian land 60 years ago. This injustice meted out against the Palestine people, in May 1948 has since continued to multiply in different dimensions, as witnessed by the increasing frequency and intensity of the suffering of the people in the occupied territory and in the Middle East.
Mr. Chairman our Movement has always stood with the Palestinian people and has continued to call for concerted international efforts to bring to fruition their quest for peace, security and justice. The Movement has remained steadfastly on the forefront of an international campaign for restoration of justice and freedom to the Palestinian people and to the Middle East.
Al Nabka remembrance will no doubt provide a further impetus to the Movement’s efforts to keep the focus on the imperative need of resolving the Palestinian problem expeditiously. The successive Non-Align Summits have reiterated and reaffirmed the legitimacy of the struggle of the Palestinian people to live in peace and harmony within secure borders with Israel. They have unreservedly condemned the injustices done out to the Palestinian people which incidents like Al Nakba, only served to highlight.
In keeping with the principled position of NAM, the 15th Ministerial Conference held in Tehran recently considered the unfolding tragedy in the Middle East and adopted several pronouncements outlining its concerns and expectations.
In Tehran the Ministers expressed their deep anguish at the fact that 60 years have passed since 1948 Al Nakba that befell the Palestinian people by which they became a stateless and dispossessed people, displaced and dispersed from their homeland and that more than half of the Palestinian people continue to live in exile in refugee camps throughout the region and in the Diaspora. The Minister’s also expressed their regret that since 1967 for 41 years now, the Palestinian people have continuously suffered and continue to be denied their fundamental human rights, including the right of the Palestinian refugees to return.
Both as a member of the Non-Aligned Movement as well as a friend of the Palestinian people, Sri Lanka, like other members of NAM, desire to see amity and unity among Palestinians and Israelis on the basis of the two states of Israel and Palestine living side by side in peace and harmony within secure borders. The people and the Government of Sri Lanka recall “Al Nakba” with profound sadness. We consider that it is timely that practical measures were taken by the International community to bring an early resolution of the problems faced by the Palestinian people. It is also our hope that incidents like Al Nakba will never be repeated in the history of humanity.
As we commemorate the 60th Anniversary of Al Nakba, my delegation would like to associate itself with the sentiments of the Palestinian people which are fully shared by the Non-Align Movement that peace and security in the Middle East is a crying need in the world today.
We hope Mr. Chairman that the Movement and the United Nations will seize the initiative and commitment expressed by the President of the UNGA earlier this morning to fulfill this need, an objective that has eluded the United Nations for so long.