Prince Khalid bin Sultan: Victory was the ally of our armed forces against the enemies of the nation

Moroccan monarch says peace is not impossible but settlements must stop

U.S. slaps fresh sanctions on Iran

Hariri insists on international tribunal on Lebanon

Prince Khalid bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz, Assistant Minister of Defense, Aviation and Inspector General for Military Affairs, said that victory was the ally of the armed forces men against the enemies of the nation who “sought evil by their infiltration into our southern borders”.

“Almighty God Has chosen a number of those heroes to be martyrs and bestowed that honor on them while other heroic men were wounded in those confrontations and we thank God they have returned safe and sound to their families and military units,” Prince Khalid said during a meeting with some high-ranking armed forces officers led by Saudi Chief of Staff General Saleh bin Ali al-Mohayya at his office in al-Muadhar.

Meanwhile, Moroccan King Mohammed VI on September 20 addressed the plenary session of the 65th UN General Assembly, MAP reported. He hailed UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's efforts to make the Millennium Development Goals a "top priority".

At a meeting on the sidelines of the assembly, Ban told Mohammed VI that Morocco will receive the 2010 UN-Habitat award, "in recognition of the work carried out in the Kingdom, under the leadership of HM the King, to improve the living conditions of the underprivileged in the cities", MAP reported.

Here follows the full text of the address, read by Prime Minister Abbas El Fassi:

Praise be to God

May peace and blessings be upon the Prophet, His Kith and Kin

Your Majesties, Your Highnesses, Your Excellencies, Mr. President, Mr. Secretary-General,

First of all, I should like to congratulate you, Mr. President, on being elected to preside over the 65th session of the General Assembly of the United Nations, and to commend your predecessor, Dr. Ali Triki, on having given fresh impetus to the proceedings of the General Assembly.

I also want to express my deep appreciation to the Secretary-General, who spares no effort to enhance the role of the United Nations Organization.

This session, which is being held ten years after the Millennium Summit, is an occasion for us to agree on a consensual vision to steer our joint action for the years to come, and also to reiterate our commitment to the three basic elements underlying that vision, namely security and stability, development and prosperity, and support for human rights and human dignity. These priorities make up the bedrock of the new international agenda.

This important meeting therefore provides a good opportunity for us to reassert our commitment to tackling these priorities, and to reiterate our determination to promote international cooperation and lay the groundwork for a new world where safety and solidarity prevail.

Morocco, which sees the United Nations Organization as the symbol of universal values and international legitimacy, has worked untiringly to give the Organization active support, to promote its principles and to contribute to the achievement of its objectives.

My country has also actively sought to ensure its national priorities are in line with the international agenda.

Mr. President,

Peace-keeping was the main reason behind the creation of the United Nations, which is playing a key role for all mankind.

From this rostrum, the Kingdom of Morocco calls on the international community to increase its involvement and work for the settlement of all disputes - whether overt or latent - which strain relations between neighboring states and hamper the indispensable integration of their economies, particularly in Africa.

To foster healthier relations in our Maghreb region, we submitted an Autonomy Initiative in 2007 with a view to bringing an end to the artificial dispute over the recovery, by Morocco, of its southern provinces.

This bold, innovative initiative has received the support of the international community and the Security Council, which have repeatedly described the efforts underlying it as serious and credible. They have also commended the steps taken by Morocco to facilitate the settlement of this dispute which heavily jeopardizes the Maghreb integration and the prosperity of the peoples of the five countries in the region.

In this context, the Kingdom of Morocco calls on the other partners to seize this historic opportunity and engage in substantive negotiations under the auspices of the Secretary-General and his Personal Envoy, to whom we reiterate our sincere willingness to cooperate.

The need to free our region from the yoke of this dispute, which hampers our joint action, has never been greater, not only for us, but also for our strategic partners.

We therefore have to settle this dispute, given the numerous, pressing challenges facing us, especially with respect to security, in the Sahara and Sahel region and in the Mediterranean basin.

Mr. President,

Achieving peace in the Middle East is not an impossible goal, nor is the persistence of the conflict an inevitable fate. The only solution remains that of two states, living side by side, in peace and security.

The international community is therefore called upon to support the direct negotiation process taking place under the commendable auspices of the US Administration. This is a good opportunity to strive hard and achieve a final settlement in compliance with international legality and the relevant UN resolutions, and on the basis of a clear frame of reference, a comprehensive agenda and a specific timetable.

As an active player in the peace process, Morocco is aware that negotiations have to address the issue of establishing a fully sovereign Palestinian state, with Al Quds Al Sharif as its capital, as well as the related thorny questions, and that for negotiations to succeed, unilateral actions must be avoided and settlement building must end, especially in Al Quds Al Sharif.

As President of the Al Quds Committee, I have consistently drawn the attention of the United Nations Organization and of the international community to the sensitivity of the issue of Al Quds Al Sharif and to the attempts to Judaize this holy city and obliterate its characteristics. Al Quds must remain a symbol of coexistence and concord between the monotheistic religions; a City of Peace and of coexistence between the Palestinian and the Israeli peoples.

Mr. President,

Two days ago, we took stock of the progress that has been made towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals. We agreed that a combination of crises and of consequences of climate change has clearly delayed the attainment of most of these goals in many developing countries, particularly in Africa.

With a population of more than 900 million people and natural resources abundant enough to ensure the continent’s self-sufficiency, Africa may well enjoy a steady growth rate. This potential notwithstanding, Africa largely remains on the sidelines when it comes to foreign direct investment flows, a trend which has been compounded further by the global economic and financial crisis.

The Kingdom of Morocco therefore proposes that the United Nations General Assembly should hold a high-level dialogue on investment in Africa.

Similarly, the magnitude of the challenges posed by globalization requires urgent, substantial reforms of the current global economic governance set-up as well as further mobilization to lay the foundations of a new, equitable, balanced and efficient environmental order that will enable us to safeguard our planet for the sake of current and future generations.

Mr. President,

The Kingdom of Morocco has made the irreversible decision to protect and promote human rights, using, to this end, a comprehensive strategy based on a participatory approach which lays special emphasis on human resource development and the promise of a dignified life, which are key elements in our endeavor to build a democratic society dedicated to development.

In this respect, Morocco has launched major projects and the substantial progress made towards expanding the scope of individual and collective freedoms, safeguarding human dignity and promoting the rights of its citizens - especially those of women, children and people with special needs - has been widely recognized.

Morocco has been deeply committed to protecting human rights since the establishment of the Human Rights Council and the setting up of its operating mechanisms. This commitment was recognized in March 2010, when Morocco was chosen as co-facilitator, at the UN General Assembly level, of the review process of this key UN institution, one of whose aims is to put human capital at the heart of human resource development and sustainable development.

Morocco will spare no effort to achieve this goal and to help develop a shared, responsible vision on the true values of human rights, a vision which excludes empty slogans and tendentious manipulation of lofty objectives.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The world still has a long way to go before states and peoples learn to accept diversity and make it a source of spiritual, cultural and civilizational enrichment. More than a necessity, dialogue among civilizations has become a priority.

It is of the utmost importance that the United Nations Organization becomes the standard bearer of a culture of peace, tolerance and mutual understanding; that it serves as a catalyst for a new form of cooperation which is based on solidarity and dedicated to achieving the dignity and well-being of all people.

Thank you.

Meanwhile, Iranian officials accused of serious human-rights abuses are targeted under a new round of U.S. sanctions, the White House announced.

President Barack Obama signed an executive order that authorizes the departments of State and Treasury to impose sanctions on eight Iranian government officials tied to serious human-rights abuses against the people of Iran, a White House statement said.

"The United States is strongly committed to the promotion of human rights around the world, including in the Islamic Republic of Iran," the statement said.

The action was taken in accordance with the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability and Divestment Act of 2010, which imposes sanctions against senior Iranian government officials who, based on credible evidence, were involved in serious human-rights abuses during Iran's 2009 presidential election and its violent aftermath, the White House said.

The individuals listed are subject to financial sanctions and visa ineligibility under U.S. law, the statement said.

"The United States will always stand with those in Iran who aspire to have their voices heard," the statement said. "We will be a voice for those aspirations that are universal, and we continue to call upon the Iranian government to respect the rights of its people."

The individuals listed were Mohammad Ali Jaafari, Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp commander; Sadeq Mahsouli, welfare and security minister and former interior minister; Qolam-Hossein Mohseni-Ejei, prosecutor general of Iran and former Intelligence minister; Saeed Mortazavi, former prosecutor general of Tehran; Heydar Moslehi, intelligence minister; Mostafa Mohammad Najjar, interior minister and former armed forces for law enforcement deputy commander; Ahmad-Reza Radan, Iran's National Police deputy chief; and Hossein Taeb, deputy Revolutionary Guard commander for intelligence and former IRGC Basij Forces commander.

In Lebanon, Prime Minister Saad Hariri stressed his commitment to the UN-backed court regardless of “threats,” as well as his support to Lebanese-Syrian ties, while Hezbollah officially confirmed that the party would block Lebanon’s 2011 budget article concerning the court’s funding.

“The priority is for relations with Syria [and we are] refusing to go back on it because it is in the interest of both countries,” Hariri said during a meeting of the Future Movement’s political bureau, which he chaired.

The prime minister, however, also refused to bow down to growing internal and international pressure to disassociate himself from the UN-backed tribunal investigating the 2005 assassination of his father.

“We reject any compromise or attempt to do away with the tribunal,” Hariri said.

“[The STL is an] international institution that is present on its own and is not governed by any political power balances and more importantly there is no possibility whatsoever to give up on the blood of martyr Premier Rafik Hariri.”

“This will be achieved through patience, firmness and holding to [our principles] without being dragged to any issue that would drive Lebanon into a cycle of instability,” he added.

However, Hariri’s support to the “priority of relations with Syria” followed Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem’s condemnation of the STL investigation as “politicized” accusing it of seeking to indict Hezbollah members.

“We are convinced that a condemnation of the prosecutor of this court against Hezbollah will be a factor of disturbance in Lebanon,” he told the Wall Street Journal, calling for the STL be replaced by an internal Lebanese tribunal.

Commenting on Hezbollah’s rejection to fund the STL, the party’s spokesman Ibrahim Moussawi told The Daily Star that Hezbollah’s position with regard to the STL “was known,” in reference to its condemnation of the tribunal as an Israeli plot aimed against the resistance.

He added that opposition parties stood united with Hezbollah in rejecting the STL’s funding.

Asked to comment on accusations by March 14 parties that Hezbollah’s opposition to the STL violates the Cabinet’s policy statement, which stresses support for the tribunal, Moussawi said “let them say whatever they want to say.”

Asked whether ministers loyal to Hezbollah might resign from the Cabinet, Moussawi said: “I have no comment on the issue.”

“How can we finance a tribunal that has turned into an Israeli-American tool attempting to sow discord in the country?”

Hezbollah politburo member Ghaleb Abu Zaynab told AFP. “We do not want Lebanon to fall victim to US interests in the region.”

In one of their strongest declarations of support for the STL to date, the March 14 Secretariat General warned in a statement against the decomposition of the national consensus which has existed since the start national dialogue talks in 2006.

“To push the Lebanese to accept the logic of force over the logic of justice is refused because that would mean the end of Lebanon,” the statement said. “To push the Lebanese to use weapons to confront weapons is also rejected since the Lebanese consider their protection to be the state’s responsibility.”

“To hide from justice by threatening strife is condemned,” it added.

Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah has said the STL’s impending indictment was set to accuse members of the party as part of a plot targeting the resistance in Lebanon. The party and its allies have accused Lebanese officials of fabricating witnesses in the investigation and Nasrallah has publicized evidence that he said implicated Israel in the killing.

In response to Hariri’s statement, Hezbollah’s Loyalty to Resistance bloc said “attempts to divert attention away from false witnesses, who stand accused of misleading investigations, would not work.”

“False witnesses must be but on trial and information linking Israel to the crime accepted,” the bloc said in its statement.

Loyalty to Resistance bloc MP Ammar Moussawi, who met with UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon Michael Williams, also reiterated that the STL had erred by deviating away from objectivity and ignoring the possibility of Israel’s involvement in the murder.

“The course followed by the STL became a burden for states, political parties, or judicial authorities sponsoring it,” he said.

“The main challenge for those parties is how to find the proper solution to dismantle the time bomb which is the indictment,” he added.

He also slammed the court as a tool in the hands of foreign powers that can no longer be influenced by Lebanese actors.

“Its actions are now in the hands of the international community – this is a kind of surrender from domestic parties to the hegemony of international forces,” he said.

Prior to their confirmation that they would block the article of the 2011 draft budget’s concerning the STL funding, MPs of the parliamentary majority and opposition lawmakers bickered over the article in the 2010 draft budget concerning the STL funding during a meeting of the Finance and Budget committee.

While March 14 MPs argued that the failure to vote on the article in the committee’s meeting earlier this month leaves the matter to Parliament’s general assembly to decide whether to pass it, Hezbollah lawmakers said the failure to approve the clause prevents its submission to Parliament.

On September 16, March 14 MPs withdrew from the Finance and Budget committee meeting after opposition lawmakers refused to approve the article relating to the funding of the STL, leaving the session short of the legal quorum and preventing a vote on the article. The session’s minutes on September 16 as reported by head of the committee Free Patriotic Movement MP Ibrahim Kanaan, said “the article to fund the STL was not approved because of lack of consensus.”

But Hezbollah MPs argued in the meeting that “the dispute over the article was settled and thus there is no need to pass it to the general assembly.”

However, majority MPs voiced objection to the minutes of a session regarding the stance of Hezbollah MPs since the failure to approve the article “does not mean that the article should be dropped but rather that it should be submitted to Parliament’s general assembly.”

Future Movement MP Ahmad Fatfat demanded that Hezbollah’s position be crossed out from the minutes and that the meeting on September 16 be considered as though “it never happened” since it contradicted article 13 of Parliament by-laws after the withdrawal of majority MPs.

But Hezbollah MP Ali Ammar responded in sharp tone blaming Fatfat and the Future Movement for the “destruction of the country for the past five years.”

“You established an Israeli-American tribunal and passed it in an illegitimate Cabinet,” Ammar said, accusing the Future Movement of being responsible for “the July 2006 war and the 1,200 martyrs who died during it.”

Fatfat’s responded by saying Ammar’s remarks “benefit Israel and lead to strife.”

The debate led Kanaan to halt the meeting for sometime before demanding that remarks during the dispute be crossed out from the meeting’s minutes. He also suggested transferring debate to Parliament’s office to settle the dispute over whether to pass the article of the STL funding to Parliament.

But Kanaan’s decision was opposed by lawmakers of the majority, who stressed that Parliament’s office had no prerogatives to decide upon the issue and that the article should be transferred to the general assembly.