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UPDATED: 08:57, September 28, 2006
Sweden urges strong response to global challenges: UN envoy
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Sweden is confident that the United Nations can continue to make a difference wherever there is conflict, poverty and human suffering, said a top Swedish diplomat Wednesday.

Addressing the general debate of the 61st UN General Assembly, Swedish permanent representative to the UN Anders Liden said the latest cycle of violence in the Middle East and the recent escalation in Darfur have once again highlighted the need for a strong multilateral response to global challenges.

A comprehensive approach to the conflicts in the Middle East is urgently needed with strong and increased involvement from the international community. Positive contributions will be required from key countries in the region, including Syria and Iran, he said.

"The events this past summer have shown that a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and long-term security for Israel are all objectives that cannot be achieved by military means. Negotiations are the only avenue to peace," he added.

Liden noted that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict lies at the core of the tension in the Middle East. The vision of an independent and democratic Palestine, living side by side with a secure Israel, based on the implementation of UN Security Council resolution 242 and 338 must be revived, he said.

The minister said Sweden maintains that Israel's right to exist should be unequivocally recognized by all. Meanwhile, Sweden asks Israel to stop the expansion of Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories as the move undermines confidence building in the peace process.

On terrorism, he said this global threat can only be met by collective action by member states. He noted that the adoption of the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy by the UN General Assembly sent a strong political message that terrorism is unacceptable in all its forms and manifestations, committed by whomever and for whatever purposes, as it constitutes one of the most serious threats to international peace and security.

Source: Xinhua

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