30 November 2004
Secretary-General Urges Renewed Commitment to Reinvigorated Middle East Peace Process, on Day of Solidarity with Palestinian People
NEW YORK, 29 November (UN Headquarters) -- Following is Secretary-General Kofi Annans message on the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, in New York, 29 November:
On this International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, I take the opportunity to express, once again, my sympathy to the Palestinian people, who are mourning the loss of their leader, the late President Arafat. Let us hope that his memory will be an inspiration to the Palestinian people at this difficult time, so that they may remain united and strengthened in their efforts to realize their national aspirations for statehood and self-determination through peaceful means.
Over the past four years, bloodshed and chaos in the Middle East have continued without respite. Palestinians have endured a dismal existence of grinding poverty and dispossession. But they have not been good years for Israelis, either. They too have borne great loss. They too need security. The past four years have demonstrated all too clearly that violence only begets violence, and pushes farther away the prospect of a peaceful solution to the conflict.
However, we must not give way to despair and pessimism. Today, throughout the world, people hope that a new chance for peace may be around the corner. That opportunity must not be let pass. The international community must gather its strength and renew its commitment to work for a reinvigorated peace process. Following the recent Quartet meeting in Sharm el Sheikh, I am hopeful that it will do so.
The Quartets Road Map still embodies a path to peace that is accepted by both the Palestinians and Israelis, and strongly supported by the international community. It is high time that it be given a chance to succeed, and that the parties begin to live up to their commitments under it. And I have expressed my hope that Israels disengagement plan will revive peace efforts based on the Road Map, leading to the end of the occupation of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, as well as the Gaza Strip, and paving the way for a sovereign, democratic and contiguous Palestinian State, living side by side in peace with a secure Israel.
For my part, I pledge to continue to work with all parties for a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement of the question of Palestine, based on Security Council resolutions, and on the principle of land for peace.
* *** *