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Peace at home, peace in the world

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Statement by Foreign Minister Çavuşoğlu at the UN General Assembly Emergency Special Session on Jerusalem held in New York, 21 December 2017

Mr. President,

Thank you for convening this historic UN General Assembly meeting.

I would also like to welcome H.E. Mr. Riad Malki, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Palestine.

Dear friends,

For so many times, we came here and said that the Palestinians have the right to live like the rest of us.

They have the right to be free and secure. They have the right to be prosperous. And they have the right to enjoy what is their own.

Yet, our words could not make a change. The illegal occupation continues and the Palestinians cannot enjoy their basic rights.

Generations of Palestinians are subjected to systematic violence and discrimination.

Today’s vote is important to remind that the Palestinians are not alone.

This vote is important to show that Palestinian cause is still our cause!

Therefore, today, we will speak up for justice and peace.

Today, we will speak up for Al-Quds - Jerusalem, the city of three divine faiths.

We will show that different ethnicities and religions can coexist in peace.

Excellencies,

The Palestinians have the right to their own state based on 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital.

This is the main parameter and only hope for a just and lasting peace in the region.

However, the recent decision of a UN Member State to recognize Jerusalem, or Al-Quds, as the capital of Israel, violates international law, including all relevant UN resolutions.

This decision is an outrageous assault on all universal values.

As the Summit Chair of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), we convened an Extraordinary Summit, in Istanbul on December 13.

The OIC, as the world’s second largest intergovernmental body, unanimusly rejected the decision as null and void, consistent with UNSC resolution 476 which “censured in the strongest terms” a similar decision taken by the Israeli Parliament in 1980.

The OIC also declared East Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Palestine.

Mr. President,

Al-Quds - Jerusalem is a holy city for all three monotheistic religions.

It is the responsibility of entire humanity to preserve its historic status.

Unilateral decisions on its status threaten the multi-ethnic and multi-cultural fabric of the city.

Such steps undermine the prospects for a just and lasting peace in the Middle East. They hinder the vision for a two-state solution.

Regrettably, the Security Council failed to deliver on its responsibilities once again trough the use of veto power.

Now the duty falls upon the UN General Assembly to bring justice.

Before this meeting, a UN member state threatened all the other members. We were all asked to vote “No,” or face the consequences. Some are even threatened with development aid cuts.

Such an attitude is unacceptable. This is bullying and this chamber will not bow to that. It is unethical to think that the votes and dignity of member states are for sale.

Let me put it this way: We will not be intimidated! You can be strong but this does not make you right!

Mr. President, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

This is a critical moment in history. A vote in favor of the Palestinian people today will place us on the right side of history.

We did it before; when we granted Palestine the status of a non-member observer state at the UN back in 2012.

It is our sincere hope that this vote will pave the way for much needed peace and justice in the Middle East.

Turkey, as the Chair of the OIC Summit, co-tabled the Resolution along with Yemen.

Also, together with the Arab League, we requested the President of the General Assembly to convene this Emergency Special Session.

I would like to conclude, on behalf of the entire Turkish nation, that Turkey will never let Al-Quds down.

The Palestinian people will never be left alone.

Thank you, Mr. President.