Statment by Walid Maalouf
Alternate Representative of the US to the 58th GA of the UN

U.N. General Assembly
New York, NY
Wednesday, December 3, 2003

Explanation of Vote by Walid Maalouf, Public Delegate, on Agenda Item 37: the Situation in the Middle East, in the U.N. General Assembly, December 3 , 2003


Mr. President,

The United States remains committed to a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East on all tracks.

Our opposition to the General Assembly resolution regarding "the Syrian Golan" stems from the perspective it presents regarding the situation in the Middle East: it implies that only Israel has obligations and responsibilities to make peace. This one-sided resolution is not consistent with the professed desire of Syria to resolve the Golan issue through negotiations, as mandated by UN Security Council resolutions 242 and 338.

Syrian President Asad has recently reaffirmed his support for a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East. Syrian actions must reflect those words. Regrettably, they all too often do not. Syrian support for terrorist groups dedicated to the perpetuation of the Arab-Israeli conflict exacerbates regional tensions and threatens regional peace. The impact of Syria in Lebanon is also harmful to Lebanon's prospects for full restoration of its sovereignty. Lebanese sovereignty, Mr. President, is mentioned in numerous past Security Council resolutions.

We urge Syria to address these issues and do what is necessary for resumption of the peace negotiations.

Thank you, Mr. President.