Follow UNISPAL Twitter RSS
5. Mr. FERNANDEZ (Philippines), Vice-Chairman, said that no consensus had emerged from the informal consultations on draft resolution A/C.2/43/L.13/Rev.2 concerning assistance to the Palestinian people.
6. Mr. STOBY (Secretary of the Committee) presented the programme budget implications of draft resolution A/C.2/43/L.13/Rev.2, which, in paragraph 3, requested the Secretary-General to charge the United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat) with supervising the development of the programme of economic and social assistance to the Palestinian people requested by the General Assembly in its resolution 42/166. An identical request had been addressed to the Secretary-General by the Economic and Social Council in its resolution 1988/54. Prior to adopting that resolution, the Council had been informed that an additional appropriation of $127,500 would be required for Habitat. A request for that amount had been presented to the General Assembly in document A/C.5/43/5. The Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions had reviewed that document and had recommended an appropriation of $121,500. The Fifth Committee was expected to review the Secretary-General request together with the report of the Advisory Committee later in the current session.
7. Mr. ZIADA (Iraq) said that resolutions on economic assistance to any country were normally adopted by consensus. Some delegations had expressed reservations on certain points in the text. However, since it dealt with humanitarian questions, the draft resolution should meet with general approval in the Second Committee. He drew attention to certain passages in document A/43/13, particularly paragraphs 29, 30, 34, 35 and 36, quoting parts and summarizing the rest. Iraq had given the Palestinian people a donation equivalent to $3 million. Instead of being delivered directly it had had to be diverted at great cost through the Suez Canal and Cyprus to the port of Ashdod. The condemnation in the draft resolution was explained by the practices of the occupation authorities. He formally requested a recorded vote on the draft resolution as a whole.
8. Mr. AL-SALLAL (Kuwait) supported the request.
9. The CHAIRMAN acceded to the request for a recorded vote on the draft resolution and invited delegations that wished to do so to explain their vote before the vote.
10. Mr. MKANDAWIRE (Malawi) said that the uprising of the Palestinian people, which had been going on for the past 12 months, would have long term implications for the social and economic development of the effected areas, thus humanitarian aid was perfectly justified. Assistance to the Palestinian people must be increased as a matter of urgency. Malawi had already voted for General Assembly resolution 42/166, and it would therefore vote for draft resolution A/C.2/43/L.13/Rev.2. However, Malawi’s support for that draft resolution, should not be construed as acceptance of certain aspects of the resolution that were contrary to its well known positions and to certain provisions of the United Nations Charter, particularly in respect of the selective use of economic sanctionsandthe denial of the rights to which all members of the Organisation were entitled. His delegation dissociated itself from certain aspects of the text, which war clearly impracticable. It therefore had explicit reservations concerning paragraphs 3, 11 and 14.
11. Mr. COHEN (Israel), explaining his vote before the vote, expressed regret at having to take the floor when the Committee’s time was so valuable. The title of the draft resolution, “Assistance to the Palestinian people” had nothing to do with its actual content, which was polemical, impractical and did not contribute in any way to improving the living conditions of the Palestinian people. The draft resolution included formulations which were in contradiction with the new spirit prevailing in the General Assembly and in the international community and with the spirit of reconciliation and peaceful co-existence. Some countries that were in favour of moderation and the revitalization of United Nations bodies in the economic sphere were none the less using the Committee for political purposes.
12. Israel supported the idea of assistance to the Palestinian people through UNDP, but it would not receive the 21 experts mentioned in paragraph 3 of the draft resolution and felt that the $127,500 required for that purpose should be devoted to other purposes, such as aid to the flood victims of the Sudan and Bangladesh. Israel would not co-operate in the action suggested in paragraph 6. It would not receive a mission of inquiry. In international law, the well-being of the inhabitants of the territories referred to was the moral, civil and political responsibility of the “administering Power” alone, in other word, Israel. It was therefore Israel’s task to maintain public order and to see to the well-being of Jews and Arabs in the territories it administered.
13. Paragraph 11 of the draft resolution, suggesting that Palestinian exports should be granted trade concessions and concrete preferential measures on the basis of certificates of origin issued by Palestinian bodies designated by the Palestinian Liberation Organization was indicative of the true intentions of the sponsors of the draft resolution. Exports by producers or exporters from the occupied Territories who would not pay ransom to that organization would not get trade concessions or preferential treatment on foreign markets. The text under consideration did not even pretend to assist the Palestinian people economically. The title “Assistance to the Palestinian people” was totally deceptive. Instead of assisting the Palestinian people, the draft resolution called for international approval of the PLO boycott, discrimination, economic warfare and extortion against producers and exporters in the territories.
14. The idea of channelling assistance from Member States to the territories through the Palestine Liberation Organization, as suggested in paragraph 8, was preposterous, since the latter was a terrorist organization. It was clear that any financial contribution to the PLO would be used to perpetuate terror or for propaganda purposes against a Member State of the United Nations. It was worth pointing out that the per capita income of the Palestinian Arabs was three times the income of the majority of the population of the countries sponsoring the resolution. The idea of granting the occupied Palestinian territory the preferential treatment accorded to the least developed countries therefore had nothing to do with assistance in the conventional sense of the term, a sense which Israel supported wholeheartedly. The draft resolution was nothing but an attempt to politicize the work of the Committee. Its real intention was to call for sanctions against Israel.
15. Mr. CAHILL (United States of America) said that he was deeply discouraged and saddened by the fact that, at a time of healing and increasing understanding within the United Nations, something as destructive and damaging as the draft resolution under consideration should have been submitted. Each year, there had been a similar attack against Israel, but the attack at the current session was more harsh and offensive than ever and contrasted with the tone of moderation and the efforts to work out differences which, in 1988, were enhancing the stature of the United Nations.
16. He wished to emphasize that the United States very much wanted to help the people of Palestine. While the title of the draft resolution featured the word ‘assistance’, the draft resolution’s angry and abrasive wording had nothing to do with assistance. It talked about 20 “experts” and a total cost of $127,500. With a “team leader”, the group would actually number 21 people. He very much regretted that no discussion on the subject had been allowed. Delegations had come together in informal consultations a few days previously, but had been immediately informed that there would be no discussion. One could almost always learn from dialogue because it provided a better grasp of the realities of a situation, but that right had been emphatically denied to all participants.
17. The draft resolution requested that assistance to the Palestinian people be channelled through its representative, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). That was a grave error, fur the PLO did not represent all the people of the area. Assistance to the Palestinian people, which his delegation hoped would be abundant and which came from many sources, should not be subject to such conditions. His Government was the largest single donor of bilateral and multilateral economic assistance to the Palestinian people and to the United Nations programmes that assisted Palestinian refugees. Since 1975, his Government had spent over $80 million in assistance to the Palestinians. For fiscal year 1989, Congress had earmarked $15 million. Instead of trying to solve a conflict, the draft resolution only embittered the issue. He hoped that the voting on the draft resolution would show that such a path was not the way to go forward.
18. At the request of the representative of Iraq, a recorded vote was taken draft resolution A/C.2/43/L.13/Rev.2.
Against: Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Federal Republic of, Iceland, Israel, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, United States of America.
Abstaining: Austria, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Fiji, Finland, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Spain, Sweden, Trinidad and Tobago.
20. Mr. AL-SAADY (Oman) said that the voting machine had not recorded his vote and that he had intended to vote in favour of the draft resolution.
21. Mr. COSTELLO (Australia), speaking in explanation of vote, said that, while Australia was absolutely in favour of assistance to the Palestinian people and, in the plenary, had voted in favour of the resolution on the report of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices, he had voted against the draft resolution under consideration, which differed substantially from resolution 42/166 on the same subject adopted at the previous session. The draft resolution was not relevant to the mandate of the Second Committee and its spirit was entirely at variance with the spirit which had prevailed in the Committee’s work at the current session. He was particularly opposed to the inclusion of paragraph 8 of the resolution, it being Australia’s position that assistance to the Palestinian people should be channelled through the appropriate organs of the United Nations, in particular UNRWA.
22. Mr. LEHNE (Norway) said that his delegation had voted against the draft resolution in the belief that it did not take a balanced approach to the question under consideration and contained unacceptable element:, particularly in paragraphs 3, 8, 9, 11, 13 and 14. He regretted that the sponsors had refused to discuss the draft resolution in order to attempt to arrive at an acceptable version.
23. Although it had voted against the draft resolution, Norway unreservedly supported efforts to improve the economic and social situation of the Palestinian people in the occupied territories, as elsewhere. Agencies such as UNRWA and UNDP played an important role in that regard and Norway provided considerable humanitarian assistance through them. In 1988, it had contributed $10 million to UNRWA. It also made substantial contributions to charitable agencies in the occupied territories and to the economic development of the region. It encouraged direct exports from the occupied territories and accorded them the same preferential treatment a exports from the rest of the region. The fact that it had voted against the draft resolution did not, therefore, mean that Norway now attached less importance to the expansion of humanitarian assistance and to economic efforts in favour of the Palestinian people.
24. Norway also believed that efforts must be stepped up to arrive at an early, just and lasting settlement of the conflict in that region, which was the main obstacle to the economic and social development of the Palestinian people. He drew attention to the statement made by the Norwegian delegation on 3 November 1988 in the plenary and recalled that it had voted in favour of the draft re on Israeli practices in the occupied territories.
25. Mr. GIANELLI (Uruguay) said that his delegation had voted in favour of the draft resolution because it reflected Uruguay’s position with regard to the right to economic and social assistance of peoples who had not exercised their right to self-determination. Uruguay regretted however, that whereas dialogue and negotiation had shown themselves to be feasible, the sponsors continued to use a formulation which did not reflect the complexity of the situation and overlooked important factors, resulting in an unbalanced text, especially in paragraphs 13 and 14. As to paragraphs 9 and 11, Uruguay reserved its position on the legal validity and practical effects of the granting of trade concessions and concrete preferential measures for Palestinian exports, irrespective of the authority which had issued the certificates of origin.
26. Miss QUNNAREDOTTIR (Iceland) said that she supported the substance of the draft resolution assistance to the Palestinian people - but considered that economic assistance and social assistance should not be lumped together, and that paragraphs 3, 8, 9, 11, 33 and 14 fell outside the competence of the Second Committee. Iceland had therefore voted against the draft resolution.
27. Mr. VALLENILLIA (Venezuela) said that, as in previous years, his delegation had voted in favour of the draft resolution. If, however, each of the paragraphs had been put to a separate vote, it would have abstained or paragraphs 9, 13 and 14.
28. Mrs. HJELT AF TROLLS (Sweden) said that, although her country unreservedly supported efforts to improve the situation of the Palestinian people, both in the occupied territories and elsewhere, as evidenced by the considerable humanitarian assistance that Sweden had already granted, it had had to abstain in the vote because many elements of the draft resolution gave rise to serious problems of principle. That was the case with paragraphs 8, 9, 10 and 11, and especially with paragraph 14, which constituted a violation of the principle of universality upheld by the United Nations.
29. Mr. PINZON (Colombia) said that his delegation supported the cause of the Palestinian peoples as could be seen from its vote in favour of the draft resolution on Israeli practices in the occupied territories submitted on 3 November 1988 in plenary meeting, and Economic and Social Council resolution 1988/54. However, with regard to draft resolution A/C.2.43/L.13/Rev.2, it would have abstained on paragraph. 9 and 11 if they had been the subject of a separate vote, and would also have preferred paragraphs 13 and 14 to be redrafted in more constructive terms. Since the paragraphs had not been put to a separate vote, Colombia had had to abstain.
30. Mr. DE LA TORRE (Argentina) said he had voted in favour of the draft resolution, it being understood, however, that the granting of trade concessions, pursuant to paragraph 11, would continue to conform with the bilateral and multilateral agreement. which Argentina had already concluded or might conclude in the future.
31. Mr. PAPADATOS (Greece), speaking on behalf of the European Economic Community (EEC), said that its member States favoured the granting of assistance to the Palestinian people, as witnessed by their favourable vote on that question in previous years. However, the draft resolution before the Committee contained many unacceptable elements which were outside the scope of special assistance or presented technical and financial problems. EEC had granted considerable humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian people, whether in the form of food or financial aid. In addition, it had adopted a number of provisions on customs matters which enabled industrial products to enter the territory of the Community duty-free and established preferential treatment for certain agricultural products. EEC also recognised the authority of the chambers of commerce of Jordan and of the Gaza Strip to issue certificates of origin and had repeatedly informed Israel of the importance it attached to respect for the aforementioned provisions. It would continue to grant aid, whither in the context of bilateral agreements or through the competent United Nations bodies, such as UNRWA and UNDP.
32. He had tried to collaborate with the sponsors in drafting a text which they could accept and which would have been devoted to the actual issue under consideration, namely, assistance to the Palestinian people. His position and ideas had not, however, been taken into account and the States members of the Community had had no choice but to vote against the draft resolution.
33. Mr. BORG OLIVIER (Malta) said that his delegation had voted in favour of the draft resolution but regretted that it contained certain elements which were neither constructive a nor balanced.
34. Malta was entirely in favour of the granting of assistance to the Palestinian people, but considered that paragraphs 13 and 14 did not relate to that question, and it would have abstained on those paragraphs if they had been the subject of a separate vote.
35. Mr. KIURU (Finland) said that, if a separate vote had been taken on each paragraph, Finland would have voted against several of them which were outside the competence of the Second Committee. His delegation therefore regretted that it had been unable to support the draft resolution and had been obliged to abstain,
36. Mr. KONAN (Côte d’Ivoire) said that his delegation had voted in favour of the draft resolution, since it was important to furnish assistance to the Palestinian people, but had reservations concerning paragraphs 13 and 14.
37. Mr. KRAMER (Canada) said that his delegation voted against the draft resolution despite the importance it attached to the question, because the draft dealt primarily with problems outside the competence of the Second Committee. That was particularly the case with paragraph 14. His delegation was also concerned about the content of paragraph 8, which appeared to deprive United Nations bodies of any role, and considered that the reference to the least developed countries in paragraph 9 was inappropriate. Canada regretted that it had not been possible to continue the negotiations in order to arrive at a more suitable text.
38. Mr. CAPRIROLO-CATTORETTI (Bolivia) said that his delegation had voted in favour of the draft resolution, because Bolivia supported humanitarian assistance. It considered, however, that paragraphs 13 and 14 did not help in attaining humanitarian objectives, and it would have abstained if those paragraphs had been put to a separate vote.
39. Mr. BULBULIA (Barbados) said that his delegation fully supported the purpose of the draft resolution, but had reservations concerning the request in paragraph 14.
40. Mrs. de WHIST (Ecuador) said that her delegation had voted in favour of the draft resolution but regretted that certain paragraphs were unbalanced and reserved its position on paragraphs 9 and 11.
41. Mr. BOECK (Austria) said his delegation always considered that the only means of achieving a just and lasting solution to the problem lay in convening an international peace conference, under United Nations auspices, providing for the withdrawal of Israeli forces from the occupied territories and the right of all States to exist within secure and internationally recognised frontiers. Assistance to the Palestinian people was an important subject and Austria had voted in favour of the draft resolution on that question submitted at the forty-second session of the General Assembly. However, it had abstained in the vote on draft resolution A/C.2/43/SR.13/Add.2 because paragraphs 8, 9 and especially 14 contained elements and formulas which it found unacceptable.
42. Mr. SINGH (Fiji) said that his delegation fully supported the principle of assistance to the Palestinian people, but had had to abstain during the vote, especially because of the provisions in paragraph 3, 11 and 14.
43. Mr. PORTUGAL (Peru) said that his delegation had voted in favour of the draft resolution, but considered that paragraph 14 ran counter to the principles governing the activities of the United Nations bodies.
44. Mrs. MORENO DEL CUETO (Mexico) said that she had voted in favour of the draft resolution but expressed reservations with regard to paragraph 14, which ran counter to the principle of universality upheld by the United Nations.
45. Mr. N’GRECAI (Central African Republic) said that he had voted for the draft resolution but had reservations concerning paragraphs 13 and 14.
46. Mr. FERNANDEZ (Philippines) said that his delegation had voted in favour of the draft resolution because it supported the principle of assistance to the Palestinian people, but it had reservations with respect to paragraphs 9, 11, 13 and 14.
47. Mr. DOUTOUM (Chad) said that he had voted in favour of the draft resolution but had reservations concerning paragraphs 13 and 14, which were not consistent with his country’s position on the question.
48. Mr. TAI (Malaysia), Mr. CHOWDHURY (Bangladesh) and Mr. GONCALVES (Angola) said that, had they been present during the voting, they would have voted in favour of draft resolution A/C.2/43/L.13/Rev.2.