Thursday, September 18, 2014

Closing Remarks by H.E. Zahir Tanin, Chair of Intergovernmental Negotiations on Security Council Reform

CLOSING REMARKS BY

H.E. ZAHIR TANIN

PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF AFGHANISTAN

TO THE UNITED NATIONS IN NEW YORK

CHAIR OF THE INTERGOVERNMENTAL NEGOTIATIONS

ON THE QUESTION OF EQUITABLE REPRESENTATION AND INCREASE IN THE MEMBERSHIP OF THE SECURITY COUNCIL AND OTHER MATTERS RELATED TO THE COUNCIL

AT AN INFORMAL PLENARY SESSION OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY

3 JUNE 2010

UNITED NATIONS HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Check against delivery

Excellencies, distinguished delegates,

Let me close this meeting by first and foremost thanking all delegations for their active participation and continuing engagement in this process. Let me also thank all Member States for their kind words of support thus far. I have been deeply heartened by the numerous expressions of good faith, and it is abundantly clear to me today that you, the membership, remain as determined as ever to reform the Security Council.

In this regard, I am pleased to note the membership-wide agreement in this room that the text with its annexes, currently in front of you, is a helpful vehicle to continue to move this process forward in accordance with decisions 62/557 and 63/565. This text, revision 1, is as you know a product of your persistent and unanimous calls for text-based negotiations, and could not have been made without your contributions, as these of course constitute the very foundation of our negotiations. However, with everything we have going for us, in our continual quest for reform, we cannot afford to grow complacent. We must now build on the framework that you so meticulously have put together. This is the sense of the house.

As is customary, and as a logical result of yesterday and today’s deliberations, it is therefore my intention to convene a series of meetings of the informal plenary to allow Member States to focus on the text at hand in an open, transparent, comprehensive and inclusive manner. These meetings will be scheduled in accordance with the five interconnected key issues as laid out by decision 62/557, beginning, this time, in reverse order and as a working necessity, only with a meeting dedicated to the section of the text on the fifth key issue concerning the relationship between the General Assembly and the Security Council on 11 June. This meeting will of course be followed by individual meetings on the rest of the five key issues. I believe that this structure will allow the text to continue to evolve in a fair, balanced, comprehensive and open membership-driven way.

I would like to stress that Member States are as always welcome to comment on any matter they deem relevant. However, rather than restating known positions at the meetings devoted to the specific key issues, I encourage all of you to look concretely and comprehensively at the text with a view to making specific amendments that would reduce obvious overlaps, address existing differences and combine common elements in the language of the negotiation text. For my part, and as is customary, I will continue to discharge my responsibility as Chair by reflecting all suggested amendments by Member States in coming versions of the text. Amendments will, however, only be applied with the agreement of the Member State, -or States, whose language is affected as is usual practice in this house when we negotiate. On this note, Member States are of course always encouraged to deliberate amongst each other and convey any results thereof to me either during our meetings or through a letter. You are, and will remain, the masters of your own positions, but only if you reach across the aisle in a spirit of compromise and good faith can this process move forward. Don’t just ask what the text can do for you, but also what you can do for the text.

On this note, I urge you to bring the same kind of engagement and determination to the next exchanges as you have shown in the previous rounds. The task at hand deserves it. Let me remind all of you that we continue to meet in an informal setting. This should mean brief interventions rather than prepared statements, and interaction. I will certainly encourage that to the best of my abilities. Let me also clarify, that an individual meeting could go on for longer than one day, so that we do justice to the scope of every single issue.

Again, thank you all for your participation and engagement in this process. I am confident that, together, we will continue to move forward towards a solution that can garner the widest possible acceptance.

Thank you.

Public Forum Closing Remarks by H.E. Mr. Zahir Tanin Head of Delegation Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People

Ladies and gentlemen,

The Public Forum is drawing to a close. The delegation of the Committee is grateful for the very informative presentations by the invited speakers and enjoyed the lively exchange of views during the discussions. My special thanks go to the two moderators, Ms. Phyllis Bennis and Dr. Sylvia Tiryaki, who so ably steered us through the session.

Dear Friends,

The Palestinian people have suffered too much and for too long. All of us in every capacity — Governments, the United Nations and civil society — must each play our own role to bring justice back to them.

Today the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People was able to learn from you – from your analyses of the situation on the ground, and about your efforts to bring peace and justice to Jerusalem. We’ve heard about your tireless advocacy work, your relentless protests, your personal sacrifices and your invocations of international law.

I would like to assure you that we will take your messages back to New York – to the members of the Committee, and through them, the wider membership of the United Nations.

You should know that the Committee stands behind your efforts and encourages you to keep working towards a just and lasting peace. We support all your efforts to broaden the movement, to involve more organizations and individuals in your efforts. And we will continue to work with you. Wherever possible, we will provide you with a platform, like this Public Forum here in Istanbul, to widen your outreach, your networking and coordination. We will keep cataloguing your actions and analyses in the UN Division for Palestinian Rights’ “NGO Action News”. In that regard, please keep the Division updated about your activities, new initiatives and campaigns, including your work with other stakeholders, such as trade unions or parliamentarians.

Also, wherever possible, we will be inviting your representatives to report directly at Committee meetings or to speak at events organized under the Committee’s auspices. And of course, we are always happy to hear about your ideas to enhance our future cooperation.

The important thing is that we all stay connected and work together towards our common goal: the exercise by the Palestinian people of its inalienable rights, the right to self-determination, the right of return of the Palestine refugees, and an independent State with East Jerusalem as its capital.

I thank you once again for your participation in this meeting and with you a safe journey back.

With that, I declare closed the United Nations Public Forum in Support of the Palestinian People.

Public Forum Opening Remarks by H.E. Mr. Zahir Tanin Head of Delegation Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People

Excellencies,

Ladies and gentlemen,

Dear friends,

On behalf of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, I would like to warmly welcome you to the United Nations Public Forum in Support of the Palestinian People.

Many of you also attended the United Nations International Meeting in Support of the Israeli-Palestinian Peace Process, which just concluded yesterday. Among the topics discussed at that gathering was the question of Jerusalem, as a key to Israeli-Palestinian peace. Since this issue is of utmost concern to us all, it will also be the focus for this meeting of civil society.

Jerusalem arouses global passions in a way that few other locales can. And yet those passions, instead of creating a bastion of cross-cultural understanding and harmony, are changing one of the world’s great cities from a symbol of spiritualism and co-existence into one of injustice and suppression.

The international community has never recognized Israel’s annexation of East Jerusalem following its occupation in June 1967. Also our Committee views East Jerusalem as an integral part of the Palestinian Territory occupied by Israel. We regularly point out and criticize Israeli policies of creating facts on the ground and changing the demographic composition of the city.

Since 1967, Israel has built more than 50,000 homes for Israelis in East Jerusalem. Compare that to 600 homes for Palestinians, the last of which were built 35 years ago. Since they cannot build legally, Palestinians are being forced to build without permits, which often leads to Israeli demolitions of their homes. And when it comes to real estate in the holy city of Jerusalem, an Israeli can buy a home anywhere. But a Palestinian cannot.

As we all know, East Jerusalem is home to a wealth of religious, archaeological and cultural sites. But we are seeing control of many of these sites falling into the hands of extreme settler groups. As a result, the Christian, Muslim and Palestinian aspects of the city are being swept under the rug. And because of Israeli restrictions, Palestinian Muslims and Christians are losing access to the historical mosques and churches to which they are emotionally attached.

The Committee considers that a negotiated solution on the status of Jerusalem, which takes into account the political and religious concerns of all sides, should be an integral part of a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and lasting peace in the entire region. It should include internationally guaranteed provisions to ensure the freedom of religion and of conscience of its inhabitants, as well as permanent, free and unhindered access to holy places by the Palestinian people and peoples of all religions and nationalities.

Any agreement that does not include East Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian State will not lead to sustainable Israeli-Palestinian peace. Also, Government-sanctioned settlement construction, transfer of settlers, house demolitions, evictions of Palestinian residents and other action aimed at altering or purporting to alter the legal status and physical and demographic character of the city, constitute violations of international law and must be ceased and rescinded.

It is my hope that today’s Public Forum will give you, as members of civil society, the chance to share your views on the situation in the city and to discuss on how to move forward on the topic of Jerusalem, and thus, on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process in general. You will hear presentations on what is happening in the city today, including on home demolitions, forced evictions, settlements, the revocation of residency rights and IDs, and security concerns, including rising crime rates. A specific emphasis has been put on the role of non-State actors in promoting peace in Jerusalem, including through interfaith dialogue and people-to-people diplomacy.

Today’s meeting is part of our Committee’s programme of cooperation with civil society by providing venues and opportunities for organizations and individuals to come together to exchange views and broaden their international networks in support of the Palestinian people. Also, the Bureau of the Committee periodically holds consultations with civil society representatives to seek their input and new ideas as to how the Committee’s work could be improved. Moreover, the Committee continues to receive, with high appreciation, valuable analyses, statistics and other important information on the situation on the ground from academic institutes, think tanks and other organizations, which are extremely useful for our activities.

The Committee commends civil society organizations for their efforts to uphold international legitimacy with regard to the question of Palestine through advocacy and the mobilization of public opinion and for their initiatives aimed at alleviating the plight of the Palestinian people. The Committee also encourages civil society organizations to broaden their base, involving trade unions and other large organizations, and to focus and harmonize their advocacy efforts at the local, national, regional and international levels.

I would like to inform you that Phyllis Bennis, a Fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, DC, and Sylvia Tiryaki, Deputy Director of the Global Political Trends Center here at Istanbul Kültür University, will moderate today’s Public Forum. On behalf of the Committee, I would like to thank Ms. Bennis and Dr. Tiryaki for agreeing to that role. I am sure we will have constructive and lively deliberations.

Thank you very much.