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Rediff News  All News  » News » Israel to contest UN General Assembly seat

Israel to contest UN General Assembly seat

September 21, 2005 13:30 IST
Encouraged by its growing contacts with Arab and Muslims nations, Israel has announced plans to contest a non-permanent seat in the Security Council for the first time in the history of the United Nations.

A seat on the most powerful UN decision-making body would help Israel "Take its rightful place, as a country with full and equal rights in this institution," Israel's Deputy Prime Minister Silvan Shalom told the annual UN General Assembly on Tuesday.

Shalom also noted that his country has for the first time been elected one of the vice presidents of the General Assembly. Israel's UN Ambassador Dan Gillerman presided over the session in which Shalom spoke.

He said Israel's contacts with Arab and Muslim States are growing at a rate never seen before and the iron wall is coming down. Shalom especially mentioned Pakistan among the countries which are now "Extending their hand in friendship and recognition" to his country.

In the past, he noted they had refused to acknowledge "Our shared humanity." Israel's relations with key Muslim states, such as Turkey, are flourishing while their "peaceful ties with both Egypt and Jordan are improving all the time," Shalom, who is also Israel's Foreign Minister, said.

In this context, he said in New York this week, he had met with more than ten Arab and Muslim ministers - a number unthinkable only two year ago.   

Complete coverage: PM at the United Nations

"These meeting have been open and friendly as befits meeting between countries which have no conflict - neither over territory or economy," he added.

Israel, he told the Assembly, welcomes "New readiness for contacts and we encourage our neighbours to build on the foundation we are now laying. Contacts between Israel and its Arab and Muslim neighbours are good for the region and good for peace," he observed.

Unfortunately, Shalom said, many of the ties are still "Deep in the shadows, away from public eye."

"Today, I call on my Arab and Muslim colleagues to bring our contacts into the open so that our peoples may understand our shared desire to work with each other, to bring peace and prosperity to our region," he said.

He also urged the leaders of the Arab Muslim world, to join them "…in speaking to our publics of pace rather than conflict, of reasons to cooperate, rather than to reason to boycott."

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