|Statement by Ambassador H.M.G.S. Palihakkara, Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka at the Tenth Emergency Special Session of the UN General Assembly|
|Friday, 16 January 2009 16:20|
My delegation wishes to associate itself with the Statement made by the Chairman of the Non-Aligned Movement expressing solidarity with the Palestinian people and outlining the collective views of the Movement on the grave humanitarian, security and political situation arising from the continued attacks on the Gaza and its people. As a country that suffered much at the hands of unbridled violence unleashed by terrorism, Sri Lanka knows only too well the human and material cost of such violence that can impede political solutions.
At the outset of the latest military attacks, the Government of Sri Lanka on 5th January 2009 expressed its deep anguish and concern over the escalating violence in Gaza which has led to much bloodshed. This escalation has not only resulted in further loss of civilian life and the deterioration of the humanitarian situation, it has also increased tension in the region with all the many consequences such a situation portends. The Government of Sri Lanka had called upon all parties to end military action and violence immediately and ensure a climate conducive for finding a way forward towards the two State solution, a solution that is agreed to by all concerned as the only lasting solution. The Government has also reiterated its belief that such a cessation of violence by all sides would ease the untold human suffering now endured by the Palestinians and trauma and anxiety of the people in the region. Sri Lanka has been a consistent advocate of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people to establish an independent Palestine state and co-exist in peace with Israel and other neighbours.
As noted by the overwhelming majority of the Member States especially the Movement of Non-Aligned countries, it is a matter of deep concern that these calls for the cessation of violence has not been heeded and that humanitarian agencies such as UNRWA have been the subject of attacks resulting in deaths of humanitarian personnel and their inability to continue assistance to the Palestinian people. Given the vital necessity of ensuring the safety and security of humanitarian personnel, all parties should facilitate their work which is so essential to look after the needs of the affected people, a fact Sri Lanka is fully aware of through our own experience of providing for and supplying civilians affected by conflict due to terrorist violence. We join others in calling upon all parties concerned to abide by the calls for the cessation of violence including the calls contained in Resolution 1860 (2009) of the UN Security Council and ensure conditions that will help an effective process of negotiations. We hope that recent efforts by the friendly countries of the region and the Secretary General’s initiative to use his good offices to bring about an immediate end to suffering and the commencement of a process towards a lasting solution, will bear fruit.
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 will make efforts to resolve their differences by peaceful means and unite in pursuance of the aspirations of the their people and support 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.
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 Sate-solution, by end of 2008. Regrettably this achievement has not materialized and the Palestinian people continue to face more violence and more suffering. These new hardships add to those caused by extensive restrictions and other measures of collective punishments which have frustrated the Palestinian people as well as the political process.
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 it timely that practical measures were taken to bring about 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.
Mr. President, my delegation also hopes that the Assembly can take urgent decisions in this regard without delay (based on the draft resolution before the Assembly).