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About the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People
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        General Assembly
12 November 1983


Held at Headquarters, New York,
on Tuesday, 8 November 1983, at 3 p.m.
Chairman: Mr. SARRE (Senegal)


Adoption of the agenda

Review of the situation

This record is subject to correction.

Corrections should be submitted in one of the working languages. They should be set forth in a memorandum and also incorporated in a copy of the record. They should be sent within one week of the date of this document to the Chief, Official Records Editing Section, Department of Conference Services, room DC2-0750, 2 United Nations Plaza.

Any corrections to the record of this meeting and of other meetings will be issued in a corrigendum.

The meeting was called to order at 3.45 p.m.


1. The agenda was adopted.


2. The CHAIRMAN informed the Committee that the observer for the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) had requested that a meeting of the Committee should be held in order that he might make a statement.

3. Mr. TERZI (Observer, Palestine Liberation Organization) said that the fact that the Secretariat had been unable to provide interpretation services for the current meeting was unacceptable to the PLO; he wished to protest such treatment being given to the Committee, which was an organ of the General Assembly.

4. For some time, the PLO had been subjected to upheavals and interventions in its internal affairs. The Palestinian people, particularly those living in areas occupied by Israel, had united to defy the racist, Nazi Israeli authorities, and Chairman Arafat of the PLO had asked for all friendly countries to declare their full support for the struggle of the Palestinian people, for the decisions of the Palestine National Council and the elected leaders of the PLO. In recent days, the situation in the Palestinian refugee camps in northern Lebanon had worsened. Consequently, the PLO expected the Committee to express its concern at that situation and call for a cessation of all hostilities and all interference in Palestinian internal affairs. Furthermore, the Committee should concentrate its efforts on promoting the Geneva Declaration adopted at the International Conference on the Question of Palestine and on calling for an international peace conference.

5. It had been said that the problems currently affecting the PLO were of concern only to Palestinians. While he agreed that there were some dissidents within the PLO, their existence was a healthy sign of that organization's democratic nature. Moreover, dissent within the movement was encouraged, and the PLO did not kill off or suppress dissident members. In fact, the different factions within the PLO were united in their defence of the political programme adopted at Algiers in early 1983 and had issued statements condemning the resort to violence and intervention by outside forces. It was therefore incumbent upon the Committee to reassure the Palestinian people, through the Chairman of the Executive Committee of the PLO, Yasser Arafat, of its continued awareness of and commitment to the mandate given to it by the General Assembly. He had been informed that Chairman Arafat would be very happy if the Committee could issue such a statement.

6. Mr. SILOVIC (Yugoslavia) said that the Yugoslav Ministry of Foreign Affairs had issued a statement on the events in northern Lebanon stating that those events threatened the national struggle of the Palestinian people under its legitimately elected leaders. Yugoslavia viewed the conflict of internal factions within a single people with the greatest concern and sadness. The Yugoslav Government appealed to all Arab countries, especially the Syrian Arab Republic, to take all measures which might lead to a cessation of hostilities and bloodshed in northern Lebanon. Fighting must be stopped at once and all outstanding problems must be settled peacefully. His Government remained convinced of the need for the PLO to maintain its independence and for the Middle East crisis and the question of Palestine to be solved on the basis of internationally accepted principles.

7. He supported the proposal of the observer for the PLO that the Committee should issue a statement on the current situation, and proposed that the Chairman might do so on the Committee's behalf. He also suggested that the Committee should send a message to Chairman Arafat and the PLO, as the legitimate representative of the Palestinian people.

8. Mr. OULD HAMODY (Observer for Mauritania) said that he would prefer the Committee to direct its efforts towards securing the rights of the Palestinian people rather than to be diverted by the tragic events at Tripoli, Lebanon. Likewise, the courage which factions within the PLO had displayed in the recent confrontations ought to have been directed towards their true foe, which was Zionist interference in Palestinian affairs.

9. He read out a communiqué issued on 5 November 1983 by the Mauritanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs which expressed the Mauritanian Government's concern at the current situation and its reaffirmation of the urgent need for measures to consolidate the unity of the Palestinian people under the leadership of the PLO. Mauritania urged all Arab peoples to work together to foil any attempt to wipe out Palestinian resistance and destroy the natural solidarity among Arab peoples and countries. He agreed with other speakers that the Committee should issue its own statement on the matter.

10. Mr. GAUCI (Malta), Rapporteur, said that the Committee must adopt a practical approach to the current situation and issue a document of some kind on the situation. His delegation welcomed the initiative taken by a number of Arab countries with a view to reconciling the opposing factions within the PLO. The Committee had worked for many years on behalf of the Palestinians in fulfilment of its mandate, and it was now time for the Palestinian people itself to strive for unity so that it might to attain its rights. He was confident that, as in the past, the PLO would be able to cope with dissent within its ranks.

11. Mr. LESSIR (Tunisia) said that the events in the Palestinian refugee camps in northern Lebanon were a source of consternation to his Government, which had been pursuing efforts in a number of areas to promote the Palestinian cause. The Committee had recently been asked by the PLO to set aside a special day of mourning for the victims of Sabra and Shatila, and yet he wondered how that could be done in view of the current fratricidal killings in Lebanon, which constituted yet another obstacle to the Palestinian people's achievement of self-determination.

12. He read out a statement issued by the Tunisian Ministry of Foreign Affairs which expressed the Government's concern over recent developments and urged other Arab countries to work to bring to a speedy end a situation which was not only weakening the Palestinians but adversely affected Arab credibility. Tunisia wished to reaffirm its solidarity with the Palestinian people under the leadership of its sole legitimate representative, the PLO.

13. Mr. ROA-KOURI (Cuba) shared the concern expressed by other speakers regarding the recent events in the refugee camps in northern Lebanon and the violent form which differences existing within the PLO had taken. Every effort must be made to prevent further bloodshed and to bring about an immediate cessation of hostilities; Cuba supported the initiatives already taken towards that end. Furthermore, existing differences should be resolved by the Palestinian people on the basis of the principles and decisions of the Palestine National Council and the PLO. He agreed that the Committee should issue a text that would reflect its unanimous concern.

14. Mr. KIRCA (Turkey) said it was a matter of Turkish foreign policy to refrain from participating in conflicts involving States, national liberation movements and Arab factions when they occurred within a purely Arab context. At the same time, the Turkish people and Government were following the events in northern Lebanon with great consternation. The Turkish Government believed that Arab unity was a prerequisite for the ultimate success of the Palestinian cause; consequently, it was imperative that a negotiated and democratic solution should be found to the current deplorable situation.

15. Mr. BURAYZAT (Observer for Jordan) said that while his delegation very much regretted the uncertainty prevailing in the Palestinian refugee camps in northern Lebanon, it would view with concern any attempt to deprive the Palestinians of their freedom of choice. Any efforts in that direction would have far-reaching consequences for the Palestinian cause. He appealed for an end to bloodshed and urged the Committee to adopt a text that would contribute to that end.

16. Miss KUNADI (India) said that India was gravely concerned at the events in northern Lebanon, particularly the loss of innocent lives. The Prime Minister of India had received a message from the Chairman of the PLO, with whom she was in constant contact. The Indian Government had issued a statement on the situation which would be brought to the attention of Committee members at a later date. She agreed that the Committee should issue a statement as an expression of its solidarity with the Palestinian people.

17. Mr. EL-FATTAL (Observer for Syrian Arab Republic) expressed his agreement with the views put forward by previous speakers and said that the struggle of the Palestinian people and all other Arab peoples was one and the same and should be encouraged and supported. From the outset of the conflict within the ranks of the PLO, the Syrian Arab Republic had informed the PLO that it expected that a consensus should be reached democratically within the organization. His delegation considered the current conflict to be a regression and a weakening of joint Arab solidarity against Zionist and United States imperialism.

18. At the same time, he wished to point out that the recent events were the result of developments which had occurred since September 1982 and which had divided the ranks of Arabs in general and the PLO in particular. In that connection, United States and Israeli aggression against Lebanon and the presence of 30 United States warships in Arab territorial waters must be condemned. It was common knowledge that the United States fleet had been stationed there for purposes of aggression against the Lebanese, the Syrians and the Palestinians, of which the latter were to be the first victims. However, the Arab people, irrespective of artificial national borders, would never give up its national right to self-defence. The United States had clearly indicated that it wanted to "export democracy" to the Middle East as it had done in Grenada and as it was seeking to do in Nicaragua. Therefore, the Committee must consider all the factors which had contributed to the current conflict and issue a comprehensive condemnation of United States policy and any attempt to solve the question of Palestine at the expense of the Palestinian people. Furthermore, the Committee must demand the withdrawal of all foreign troops from the Middle East, including the withdrawal of Israeli and multinational forces from Lebanon and the withdrawal of the United States fleet from Lebanese waters. The Committee must also condemn any agreement which might undermine Palestinian rights in any way as it had condemned the Camp David accords.

19. Mr. DIACONU (Romania) expressed his delegation's deep concern at the loss of human life caused by the events in northern Lebanon. In view of the grave circumstances facing the PLO and Palestinian refugees, it was to be hoped that all friends of the Palestinian people would call for an immediate halt to armed conflict among Palestinians, whose interests required the PLO to close ranks and work to achieve its goals.

20. The Committee should adopt a position in accordance with the interests of the Palestinian people and with peace and security in the Middle East, and should express its concern for a just and comprehensive solution to the current conflict.

21. Mr. TRAORE (Mali) noted that the Palestinian people and the Chairman of the PLO had always trusted in the Committee to promote their cause. However, when a unified people expressed differences, the primary role of the Committee was to call for unity among that people. Thus the Committee must appeal at present for unity among the Palestinian people, for the success of its cause was dependent upon it.

22. Mr. BURAYZAT (Observer for Jordan) said that the observer for the Syrian Arab Republic should not presume to speak on behalf of States other than his own. Only the representative of Jordan was entitled to speak for the Jordanian people.

23. The CHAIRMAN suggested that the officers of the Committee should issue a statement on behalf of the Committee on the recent events in northern Lebanon, taking into account the views expressed during the current meeting.

24. It was so decided.

The meeting rose at 4.45 p.m.

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