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Summary record of the 46th meeting
Held at Headquarters, New York, on Thursday, 16 November 2006, at 10 a.m.
Chairman: Mr. Al Bayati ..................................................................................................... (Iraq)
Agenda item 66: Right of peoples to self-determination (continued)
30. The Chairman said that the draft resolution had no programme-budget implications.
31. Mr. Khane (Secretary of the Committee) announced that Afghanistan, Albania, Andorra, Angola, Belarus, Belize, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Costa Rica, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ecuador, Eritrea, Ethiopia, the Gambia, Guyana, Jamaica, Liechtenstein, Moldova, Monaco, Mozambique, the Niger, Romania, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, San Marino, Sierra Leone, Slovenia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Ukraine, Uzbekistan and Viet Nam had joined the sponsors.
32. Mr. Afifi (Egypt), introducing the draft resolution, said that Azerbaijan, Benin, Botswana, Brazil, Croatia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Myanmar, Norway, Slovenia and Turkey had joined the sponsors. He expressed the hope that the draft resolution would be adopted by consensus, which would convey a strong message of solidarity with the Palestinian people.
33. Mr. Khane (Secretary of the Committee) announced that the Central African Republic, the Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Iceland, Lesotho, Liberia, the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Maldives, Slovakia, Suriname, Timor-Leste, Togo and Zambia had joined the sponsors of the draft resolution.
34. Mr. Huimasalo (Finland), speaking on behalf of the European Union; the acceding countries Bulgaria and Romania, the candidate countries Croatia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, and Turkey; the stabilization and association process countries Albania, Montenegro and Serbia; and, in addition, Liechtenstein, Moldova and Ukraine, said that the European Union continued to be firmly committed to enabling the Palestinian people to fulfil their right to self-determination and to achieving a two-State solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It looked forward to seeing a viable, sovereign and independent Palestinian State exist side by side with Israel, in peace and within recognized and secure borders. Such a solution provided the best possible guarantee of security for and acceptance of Israel as an integrated partner in the region.
35. The European Union intended to contribute actively to the work of the Quartet in order to revive the Middle East peace process as swiftly as possible with a view to making progress towards a comprehensive settlement on the basis of the road map, relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions and the commitments made at the Sharm-El-Sheikh Summit in 2005, in close cooperation with Arab partners.
36. A political perspective was also needed. In order to support the goal of an independent, democratic and viable Palestinian State based on the rule of law, the European Union continued to help build and strengthen the capacity of the Palestinian institutions. It urged the Palestinians to work towards national unity. A Palestinian Government with a platform reflecting the principles of the Quartet would be a partner that the international community could support in relaunching the peace process.
37. The European Union called on Israel to desist from any actions that threatened the viability of an agreed two-State solution. Settlement activities in and around East Jerusalem and in the Jordan Valley were of particular concern. In that regard, the European Union would not recognize any changes to the pre-1967 borders other than those agreed by both parties.
38. Ms. Eilon Shahar (Israel) said that Israel had, on many occasions, explicitly and publicly affirmed its support for the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination. The political impasse in the Middle East did not stem from any denial of that right. Israel and the international community, in embracing the road map, were committed to the idea of building a Palestinian State alongside Israel and had been clear regarding the need of the Palestinian leadership in order to realize the right to self-determination, to embrace and fulfil its national responsibilities by meeting its basic obligations to recognize Israel, renounce terrorism and accept previous agreements. However, the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority, in its brutal terror attacks against Israel, was undermining the national right of its own people. Rather than demonstrating its serious commitment as a partner, the Palestinian Government continued to fund and support terrorists and to refuse to recognize Israel, accept conditions or make concessions. While both sides in the conflict had their rights and responsibilities, and both Israelis and Palestinians deserved the right to live in peace and security, the Palestinian right to self-determination could not be realized when the same Israeli right was so blatantly denied.
39. The draft resolution omitted to refer to Palestinian terrorist acts and the refusal of the Hamas-led Government to recognize Israel. It was therefore deeply flawed and flagrantly one-sided, ignoring both history and reality. It constituted a further political manoeuvre to discredit Israel when Israel was engaged in a legitimate battle for its existence and self-defence. Her delegation would therefore vote against it.
40. In recent weeks and months, Israel had sent countless letters to the United Nations, warning of a build-up of arms and continuing rocket attacks from Gaza, yet nothing had been said or done in the Third Committee to stop such attacks against Israel or to demand that the Palestinian Authority should take responsibility for the prevention of attacks emanating from its own territory. The Palestinians themselves were the only obstacle to fulfilment of their right to self-determination. The Palestinian Government must meet its basic obligations in order to move forward as a partner with Israel and implement the next step in the road map. The draft resolution, by failing to refer to those basic obligations, sanctioned the manner in which the Palestinians were trying to achieve self-determination: through a campaign of terror rather than through positive acts of self-realization. Voting in favour of the draft resolution would send a message to the Palestinians that they were free to continue to ignore their national responsibilities and had no need to live up to their obligations as responsible citizens of the world.
41. At the request of the delegation of the United States of America, a recorded vote was taken on draft resolution A/C.3/61/L.51.
Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chile, China, Colombia, Comoros, Congo, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, France, Gabon, Gambia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Iraq, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Moldova (Republic of), Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Romania, Russian Federation, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Syrian Arab Republic, Tajikistan, Thailand, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Timor-Leste, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of), Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
Israel, Micronesia (Federated States of), Palau, United States of America.
Australia, Canada, Georgia, Haiti.
42. Draft resolution A/C.3/61/L.51 was adopted by 162 votes to 4, with 4 abstentions.*
43. Mr. Ainchil (Argentina) said that his country recognized the right of the Palestinian people to build an independent and viable State. However, the right to self-determination could not be exercised without freedom from foreign domination, and must be interpreted in accordance with the provisions and principles of the Charter of the United Nations and General Assembly resolutions 1514 (XV) and 2625 (XXV).
44. Mr. Miller (United States of America) said that his country had worked continuously to support the social and economic development and the legitimate political aspirations of the Palestinian people, and that the level of United States assistance to address the needs of Palestinians compared favourably to its aid to any country in the world. The United States did not dispute the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination; it had made clear that its objective was the creation of two sovereign democratic States living side by side in peace and security. Unfortunately, the Palestinian Authority, through its failure to renounce terror, recognize Israel and respect previous agreements, and through its policies, continued to create hardships for the Palestinian people, even though President Abbas, by contrast, remained committed to those principles and to his platform of peace.
45. His delegation had been unable to vote for the draft resolution, which reflected an outdated approach conceived at a time when the Palestinian people had believed that the solution to their problems lay with the United Nations. The role of the United Nations was to support both parties in working with each other. Draft resolution A/C.3/61/L.51 and other similar resolutions, by being one-sided, undermined the credibility of the Organization, which must be seen by both sides as an honest broker in the conflict.
46. Ms. Nassau (Australia) said that her country continued to support a peaceful, negotiated settlement between Israel and the Palestinian territories, based on a two-State solution that recognized the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people and the right of Israel to exist in peace within secure and recognized borders. Australia had abstained from voting on the draft resolution since it contained unbalanced language that would do nothing to help resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
47. Mr. Bowman (Canada) reiterated his country’s strongest possible support for the Palestinian people and their right to self-determination as part of a peaceful, negotiated two-State settlement that would see the emergence of an independent, democratic and viable Palestinian State living side by side in peace and security with Israel and its other neighbours. However, draft resolution A/C.3/61/L.51 did not adequately address the responsibilities of both parties to the conflict to demonstrate efforts towards establishing such a settlement. His delegation had therefore abstained from voting.
48. Mr. Alakhder (Libyan Arab Jamahiriya) welcomed the adoption of the draft resolution, which was a historic victory for the international community, whose will it clearly reflected.
49. Ms. Rasheed (Observer for Palestine) welcomed the positive result of the vote, which constituted a clear reaffirmation of the international community’s unwavering support for the Palestinian people and their right to self-determination and its respect for the principles of international law and international legitimacy. It was regrettable that the United States delegation had voted against the draft resolution. It was to be hoped that the United States delegation would in future alter its stance to reflect its vision of Israel and Palestine as sovereign States living side by side in peace and security and within recognized borders. Israel’s denial of the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination remained the main obstacle to attainment of that goal.
* The delegation of Rwanda subsequently informed the Committee that it had intended to vote in favour of the draft resolution.
The meeting rose at 1 p.m.
This record is subject to correction. Corrections should be sent under the signature of a member of the delegation concerned within one week of the date of publication to the Chief of the Official Records Editing Section, room DC2-750, 2 United Nations Plaza, and incorporated in a copy of the record.
Corrections will be issued after the end of the session, in a separate corrigendum for each Committee.