|Agenda Item 16 : Question of Palestine|
|Tuesday, 25 November 2008 17:39|
Statement by Ambassador H.M.G.S Palihakkara, Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the UN
My delegation would like to thank and appreciate the Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, Ambassador Paul Badji of Senegal and the members of the Committee for their report and for their efforts toward promoting and achieving the full realization of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People.
Sri Lanka has consistently supported the efforts of the Palestinian People to realize their legitimate aspirations. Here I wish to quote the message from the President of Sri Lanka H.E. Mahinda Rajapaksa sent to the Special Meeting on the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People;
“This year’s observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestine People is of special significance as the year 2008 marks 60 years of Palestine dispossession. The people and the Government of Sri Lanka recall this event with profound sadness.
My association with the cause of the Palestinian people dates back to over 30 years. I am deeply concerned at the continued suffering of the Palestinian people and the deteriorating situation in the occupied territories over the last four decades.
On behalf of the People and the Government of Sri Lanka, I wish to re-affirm our unequivocal support to the People and the Government of Palestine to achieve their inalienable rights, including the right to Statehood and to convey our sincere good wishes for their well-being. The recent visit of His Excellency, Mohmoud Abbas, President of the Palestine Authority to Sri Lanka provided us with an opportunity to further strengthen our solidarity with the Palestinian people.
I hope that the ongoing efforts of international community will enable the continuation of the political dialogue between the parties leading to the achievement of a two-State solution, Palestine and Israel living side by side, within internationally recognized borders.”
The Annapolis Conference held with the participation of major stakeholders gave us hope of progress in negotiations between Israel and Palestine with the aim of achieving agreement based on the two State-solution, by end of 2008. Regrettably this achievement has not materialized and the Palestinian people continue to endure increasing hardships. The continuation of the expansion of settlement activities in the West Bank and the construction of the separation wall are seen as incompatible with negotiations on a permanent solution. Further, the hardships caused by extensive restrictions and other measures of collective punishments have frustrated the Palestinian people as well as the political process leading to the deterioration of socio-economic conditions in the occupied territories.
The agreement reached on a ceasefire in Gaza was a welcome development. We hope the parties will abide by their commitments and refrain from any action that, could undermine the prospects for peace in the region and militate against the efforts to bring about a two-State solution. In this context, it is also important for both parties to implement their obligations under Quartet Road Map.
Ending the occupation and withdrawal of Israel from the Palestinian territory, respect for the right of all States in the region to live in peace and security, and recognition of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people are among the essential principles underlying a final agreement. The Quartet Road Map remains the most viable means of achieving the goal of a comprehensive settlement of the conflict in accordance with Security Council Resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973), 1397 (2002) and 1515 (2003) and other relevant UN Resolutions.
We believe that the unity of the Palestinian people is of utmost importance in achieving a lasting solution to the question of Palestine. It is our hope that all segments of the Palestinian polity take efforts to resolve their differences by peaceful means and unite in pursuance of aspirations of the Palestinian people and support of President Abbas and his Government. Sri Lanka wishes to reiterate its support for the Palestinian people and their leadership in their efforts to achieve a comprehensive and lasting settlement to the question of Palestine.
Sri Lanka, desires 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. 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. At this critical juncture of the Palestinian quest for their legitimate human and national rights, the Government and people of Sri Lanka would like to reassure our continued support and solidarity with them.