Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Meeting in Support of Israeli-Palestinian Peace in Uruguay


The United Nations Latin American and Caribbean Meeting in Support of Israeli-Palestinian Peace was held in Montevideo, Uruguay on 29 and 30 March 2011. The goal of the meeting was to “encourage broad international action, including by Latin American and Caribbean States, in support of Israeli-Palestinian peace and for achieving a solution to the conflict based on a shared vision of two States, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security.” The delegation included members of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People: Ambassador Zahir Tanin of Afghanistan, Ambassador Oumar Daou of Mali, Mr. Riyad Mansour the Permanent Observer of Palestine, and Ambassador Abdou Salam Diallo of Senegal, as well as the Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs, Mr. Oscar Fernandez-Taranco.  The delegation was received by the Foreign Minister of Uruguay, Mr. Luis Almagro, the heads and members of the Foreign Committee of the Senate and Lower House of the Parliament, and Ambassador José Luis Cancela of Uruguay.

The Chair of the Committee, Ambassador Salam Diallo and the Foreign Minister of Uruguay welcomed the conference at its opening, followed by the Assistant to the Secretary General, Oscar Fernandez-Taranco who read a statement by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. The Secretary General’s statement urged for an agreement on permanent status issues and called for an end to any actions that could jeopardize peace talks aimed at establishing Palestinian statehood.

Saeb Erakat, a Member of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization, delivered the keynote address on behalf of Palestinian leadership. He emphasized that it is now decision-making time in terms of borders, refugees, settlements and other relevant issues which have been discussed extensively between Palestinians and Israelis.

Ambassador Zahir Tanin, Vice Chair of the Committee, chaired the first plenary, entitled, “Perceptions of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in Latin America and the Caribbean” as well as the concluding sessions of the conference. He also read the opening and concluding statements of the civil society meeting, aimed at “bringing civil society together to advance the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.”

Statement By Mr. M .Wali Naeemi Minister Counsellor and Reporter of the 4th Committee, UNGA-65 At the 4th Committee Meeting on UNRWA

Mr. Chairman,

Allow me to thank you for organizing this meeting and I also wish to thank the Commissioner-General for his self-explanatory and informative briefing on the situation and activities of the UNRWA.

It is a great honor for me to speak on behalf of my delegation on this very important issue.

My delegation aligns its statement with the statement delivered on behalf of NAM and welcomes with appreciation the report of the Secretary-General on UNRWA, which pointed out very important issues on the financial situation faced by the Agency.

Mr. Chairman,

In November 2010, the Commission-general of UNRWA presented a comprehensive report to the General Assembly, explaining in detail the challenges and constraints that UNRWA is facing at the present time.

Furthermore, he elaborated upon recommendations on necessary steps for the improvement of the Agency’s work at the regional and global-level.

UNRWA has been working for more than 60 years and providing humanitarian assistance and technical support to over 4.7 million Palestinian refugees in the Middle East.

The Agency is running education programs for young Palestinian girls and boys in more than 58 recognized refugee camps; delivering vital medical services throughout the refugee camps; and providing food and immediate assistance, in particular for disabled people, in the refugee camps.

Mr. Chair,

A real improvement in the lives of Palestinian refugees across the region requires a permanent solution with justice and the establishment of two independent states living side by side within the 1967 borders.

The international community’s support to UNRWA is of the utmost importance and must continue until a permanent solution for the long lasting conflict between Palestinians and Israelis is achieved.

In conclusion, while the humanitarian and advocacy character of UNRWA has played a decisive role since its establishment in 1949, it is now more than ever crucial for it to continue its efforts dedicated to the implementation of relief programs and services to all Palestinian refugees.

The continued successful implementation of the Agency’s programs requires the strengthening of its management capacities, an increase in the number of employees, improvement in the quality of work and expansion of the Agency in the areas of education, health, water sanitation, and strengthening the rules and assistance for Palestinians in refugee camps as well as for IDP’s.

In this regard, the grave financial situation of UNRWA, due to 12 % underfunding for the last four biennium and rising costs with refugee numbers approaching 5 million, requires many measures for improving the outlook facing the Agency, including its capacity to utilize voluntary funds more effectively and in a long perspective.

As the Secretary-General already emphasized in his report of 1 February 2011,

“UNRAW needs access to a greater share of predictable, secure funding”.

While the support of traditional donors must be sustained and increased, at the same time the income from non-traditional donors including the public and private sector needs to be enhanced and strengthened.

Hence, the international community and special-financing institutions and other entities must redouble their contribution and assist the agency’s services and programs.

I thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Nowruz Celebration at the United Nations

To celebrate the International Day of Nowruz, the Persian New Year and the first day of spring, the Permanent Representatives of Afghanistan, Iran, Tajikistan, India, Kazakhstan, Albania, Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkey , Turkmenistan and Macedonia hosted an official ceremony at the General Assembly Hall. The event also commemorated the one-year anniversary of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) resolution 64/253, which officially recognizes Nowruz as an international day of Spring celebrations.

Press Release

The ceremony was inaugurated by the President of the UN General Assembly, Mr. Joseph Deiss, who conveyed congratulatory remarks on the occasion of Nowruz. The gathering then heard the statement of UN Secretary-General Ban-Ki Moon, which was delivered by his Chief of Staff, Vijay Nambiar.  The Secretary General underscored the importance of Nowruz.  “Nowruz is a day for renewal.  It is an opportunity to reflect on the intimate links between people and the natural world. And it carries a strong message of peace and harmony between peoples of all cultures on the basis of mutual respect and understanding”, said the UN Secretary-General.

In his statement, Ambassador Zahir Tanin captured the day’s symbolic importance by explaining the significance of Nowruz. “Nowruz is about a new beginning. It is a rebirth, which comes in the season in which nature plays out the metaphor of renewal in its budding, blossoming return to green”, noted Ambassador Tanin.  He emphasized that “in today’s deeply interconnected world, sharing in cultural traditions and realizing a ‘cultural common ground’ can help us connect beyond national and political boundaries and further the cause of political and economic cooperation and integration.”

Also delivering remarks were the Minister of Information and Culture of the Republic of Tajikistan, H.E. Mirzo Shorukh Asrori; and the Permanent Representatives of other co-sponsors of the UN General Assembly resolution 64/253; the Islamic Republic of Iran, Azerbaijan, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkey and Turkmenistan.

The Information and Culture Minister of Tajikistan highlighted the importance of Nowruz in strengthening cross-cultural understandings and congratulated the gathering on the occasion.  On his part, the Permanent Representative of Iran to the UN, Mohammad Khazaee, spoke about the history of Nowruz in Iran and the region and it’s inter-relation with Islamic civilization.

The Permanent Representatives of the co-sponsoring countries reiterated the importance of celebrations like Nowruz as a means of strengthening global peace through mutual understanding and respect for cultures and heritage of different societies.

This event was preceded earlier in the day by the event, “Nowruz and the Earth: Harmony between culture and nature” which heard remarks from a panel of experts who emphasized the relevance, significance and history of Nowruz.

The panel discussion included such esteemed academics as Richard Nelson Frye, Akbar Turton, Parviz Morewedge, Michael Barry and Junita Castano. Themes such as the history of Nowruz, as one that pre-dates national borders, religious affiliations and cultural boundaries highlighted the significance of Nowruz as a means to bridge cultural differences.

Ambassador Tanin delivered opening remarks during which he paid homage to the celebration of Nowruz and nature where the theme of rejuvenation is significant in creating new life. Ambassador Tanin pointed out the importance of Nowruz as a regional festivity and lamented over the ban of celebrations by the Taliban almost a decade ago.  Several poems were recited to further highlight the importance and reverence of Nowruz in the history, culture and literature of the Persian region.

Following the official ceremony at the General Assembly, guests were then welcomed to enjoy a selection of Persian cuisines, performances and traditional music in the warm ambience of the General Assembly Hall.

Video

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