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Remarks At the United Nations Security Council 5983rd Meeting On the Situation in the Middle East

Secretary Condoleezza Rice
United Nations Headquarters
New York
September 26, 2008

SECRETARY RICE: Thank you very much. And thank you, Mr. President.

I come to this Council at a time when I think it will be very well understood that the United States of America, President Bush, myself personally, have been very committed to the Annapolis process and to finding a lasting and permanent peace between Israelis and Palestinians, the establishment of a Palestinian state to live side by side in peace, security and democracy with the people of Israel.

I come to this Council at a time when we can all look back on just one year ago, when there was no peace process. And there now is a viable, robust peace process. I come to this Council at a time when Israelis and Palestinians are continuing their negotiations toward the establishment of a two-state solution despite complications on both sides. I note, for instance, the meeting of President Peres and President Abu Mazen earlier today, the meeting earlier this week of Foreign Minister Livni and Abu Alaa. I note that President Bush yesterday met with President Abbas and that I will do so later today.

I want to note also that the Quartet will meet later today to discuss the Annapolis process, to discuss how to bring support to the parties as they seek a comprehensive peace. The Quartet is the proper forum for those discussions, and I very much look forward to those Quartet discussions later on. I want to note that the Annapolis process, of course, does expect not only political negotiations, but progress on the ground, particularly for the people of the Palestinian territories, and also the fulfillment of Roadmap obligations. And the United States’ position on the fulfillment of those obligations by both Israel and the Palestinians is very clear. We have spoken to them.

But I want to note too that the international community has other obligations, and we need to make certain that we remain focused on them: first of all, to support the parties in their bilateral negotiations so that they might come to a lasting peace; secondly, to insist that all parties live up to their Roadmap obligations; third, to provide financial assistance, particularly to the Palestinian Authority. And here, I would note that the United States has provided historic levels of assistance to the Palestinian Authority, including through mechanisms that we have never used before: direct budget support from the American taxpayer to the Palestinian Authority. I would hope that the regional states would completely fulfill their pledges in an expeditious manner so that the Palestinian Authority can, under the government of Salam Fayyad, meet its obligations to its people. 

But the international community has other obligations as well. I really do ask that regional states, our Arab colleagues in particular, consider ways that they might reach out to Israel to demonstrate in word and deed that it is understood that a comprehensive solution will also require full understanding that Israel belongs in the Middle East and will remain in the Middle East as a valued partner. In this regard, I take note of the Arab initiative, the Arab peace initiative, which is an important step in that direction, but I hope that more can be done.

Finally, it is certainly the obligation of the international community to speak loudly and firmly against terrorism in all its forms, extremism in all its forms. The taking of innocent life is never acceptable, whatever its justification. Neither is the kind of language that the United Nations has experienced yet again this week in the General Assembly when the President of Iran, unfortunately someone who is representing a great people – the Iranian people are a great people and I do not believe that the Iranian people as a whole hold these views. But their president has said that another member of this body, the United Nations, should be wiped from the face of the map, should be destroyed, and should not exist. That is simply unacceptable. And when this Council decides what really needs to be taken up as a threat to international peace and security, that, to me, makes the top of the list.

And so Mr. President, the United States of America will be asking that the Council convene again to take up the matter of one member of the United Nations calling for the destruction of another member of the United Nations in a way that simply should not be allowed, if you will pardon my saying so, in polite company. Thank you very much.


Released on September 26, 2008

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