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Israel must be forced out of Gaza: Abdullah

KUALA LUMPUR, 8 Jan 2009: Any resolution passed by the Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York tomorrow morning (about 5.30am Malaysian time) must ensure that Israel is forced out of Gaza, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

While thanking UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on the convening of the Special Session which Malaysia and several other countries had urgently called for, Abdullah said the United States should also not oppose whatever resolution that would touch on Israel.

Israel has been on a military offensive in the Gaza Strip since 27 Dec 2008.

“We have proposed it (Special Session)…so as usual, Malaysia will be involved (in the resolutions),” he told reporters when asked about the UN General Assembly Special Session.

Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim also touched on the matter at the official opening of the Institute of Diplomacy and International Relations new campus by Abdullah, here, today.

Abdullah said if the resolution on a ceasefire was passed, then Israel must withdraw from Gaza and not just set a condition for Hamas to stop its rocket attacks on Israel.

Tel Aviv claimed this is the reason for Israel’s military onslaught on Gaza that has so far killed over 700 Palestinians and injured another 3,100 or more.

“Israel must get out of Gaza, then only will there be a ceasefire,” he said.

Meanwhile, Rais said the decision to hold the UN General Assembly Special Session showed the success of Malaysian diplomacy following the letter sent by Abdullah to Ban Ki-moon and by the leaders of other countries.

“The letter sent by the prime minister (to the UN Secretary-General) bore fruit. Now the UN has agreed to convene the session, which also means reviving the session that was held before on Resolution 377. So, there is not much difference (from the original request by Malaysia for an emergency session to stop Israel’s atrocities.”

Rais said what was important would be the language used in the resolutions to be tabled, to reflect the international community’s pressure on Israel to stop its aggression and carnage in Gaza.

Rais hoped that Malaysia’s Permanent Representative to the UN Datuk Hamidon Ali would ensure that a number of important issues such as a ceasefire, monitoring system for Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza, as well as humanitarian aid be included in the resolutions.

According to him, Resolution 377 was on giving power to the UN General Assembly to meet, discuss and decide on the sovereignty of Palestine and “now there is a minor amendment to include Gaza”.

“In the coming special session, the US cannot oppose the resolutions to be tabled like what it can do in the UN Security Council,” he said.

Earlier, in his speech, Rais read out the letter from Hamidon on the consensus to hold the special session. — Bernama


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