UNITED NATIONS: Democracy and human rights are based on cultures and values of specific nations and cannot be imposed by military force, Egypt s foreign minister told the UN General Assembly.
Ahmed Abul-Gheit, whose country is a close ally of the United States and has signed a peace treaty with Israel, also criticized the U.S.-led war on terrorism for not dealing with its root causes.
Some have made it their mission to rid the world of the evils of terrorism as they define it, Abul-Gheit said, in an apparent reference to the United States and Israel.
In unusually harsh words, the Egyptian foreign minister also lambasted the abuse of the United Nations by some nations that possess the military might to impose political settlements under international protection. He also took a strong position on the nuclear standoff between Iran and the West.
Some continue to believe that their might and dominance are based on their and their allies continued possession of nuclear arsenals. They believe in the need to exercise strict control and supervision on other states and to apply restrictions on the use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, he said.
The lessons of this summer s 34-day war between Israel and the Lebanese Hezbollah group demonstrated that military might cannot and will not be able to impose a political settlement, Abul-Gheit said.
We must stand up to the arrogance of power of some in order to protect the rights and future of other countries and peoples, he said, warning against unilateral actions. Such actions not only scratch the surface of problems without delving into the root cause, they lead to the exasperation of problems through fanning the flames of hatred and the rejection of other.
This in turn feeds terrorists and extremism and leads those who despair of the justice of the international system to rebel against the will of the international community. He was clearly referring not only to Israel s war in Lebanon, but also the occupation of Iraq by U.S.-led forces which has spiraled into a bloody insurgency and civil strife.
The situation between Israel and Lebanon has resulted in unimaginable human and material losses that have exceeded all limits. Lebanon has suffered the total destruction of its infrastructure and the indiscriminate killing of hundreds of innocent civilians in a matter that contravenes the United Nations Charter and the relevant rules of the international law and the international humanitarian law, said Abul-Gheit, whose country has also been critical of Hezbollah.
The only way to resolve the Middle East crisis, he said, was to end Israel s occupation of Palestinian lands.
Abul-Gheit sounded a positive note in an otherwise gloomy address.
We assure the Israeli people that there is a path other than that of violence and counter-violence, and that the Arab world is ready to accept them as neighbors and a part of the region within a comprehensive peace agreement that transcends the suffering of the past, preserves the interests of the peoples of the region and assures Arabs and Israelis of a life in safety, security and cooperation, he said.