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68th plenary meeting
Thursday, 11 December 2008, 3.15 p.m.
In the absence of the President, Mr. Tommo Monthe (Cameroon), Vice-President, took the Chair.
The meeting was called to order at 3.15 p.m.
Agenda item 65 (continued )
(c) Assistance to the Palestinian people
Draft resolution A/63/L.50
The Acting President (spoke in French ): I now call on the representative of France to introduce draft resolutions A/63/L.48 and A/63/L.50.
Mr. Ripert (France) (spoke in French ): ...
I now turn to draft resolution A/63/L.50, entitled “Assistance to the Palestinian people”. Turkey, Croatia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia, as well as the Republic of Moldova and Armenia, align themselves with this statement.
The European Union reaffirms its commitment to providing assistance to the Palestinian people. The sustained support from international community donors, working in collaboration with the parties, is essential in order to improve Palestinian economic and social infrastructures and meet the humanitarian needs of the Palestinian people.
The International Donors Conference for the Palestinian State, which was held in Paris on 17 December 2007, was an important milestone in the political process set in motion in Annapolis, as it gave the international community a unique opportunity to support the economic and financial development of a future viable Palestinian State, to which the international community has pledged to donate more than $7.7 billion over three years. The aid mobilized at the Paris Conference is a sign of the confidence that the international community places in the reforms undertaken by the Palestinian Authority.
The European Union would like to underscore the important role played by the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee, which met in London on 2 May, in addition to its meeting alongside the General Assembly on 22 September. The Committee should allow careful follow-up to the outcome of the Paris Conference to be carried out in order to ensure that the promises made in Paris translate into real financial assistance. The European Union also commends the Conference in Support of Palestinian Civil Security and the Rule of Law, which was held in Berlin on 24 June 2008.
For its part, the European Union has continually increased its assistance. The total amount of European Union aid to the Palestinian people, including humanitarian and non-humanitarian assistance, as well as contributions to the European Commission’s specialized mechanism, will this year exceed 540 million euros, meaning that once again the European Union and its member States are the Palestinian Authority’s biggest donor.
The European Union remains determined to lend its support to the ongoing negotiations between parties which began in Annapolis, and is ready to work closely with the Palestinian Authority, the Quartet and regional partners to contribute to the recovery of the Palestinian economy as well as to the well-being, safety and security of all people in the region. To this end, last year, the European Union adopted an action strategy in order to adapt and strengthen its activities in areas such as security, law and order, strengthening of institutions, good governance, contributions to civil society and support for the economy. It has a Special Representative who is primarily responsible for coordinating these efforts on the ground, in partnership with the European Commission.
We would also like to highlight the decisive role played by the Quartet Special Representative, Mr. Tony Blair, commend the work which he has accomplished, and encourage him to continue his efforts.
The European Union, however, remains deeply concerned about the humanitarian situation of the Palestinian people, in particular in the Gaza Strip, and urges that barriers be removed so that there is free access to goods and basic services, in particular of a humanitarian nature, but also to those which can help facilitate a genuine economic recovery.
The situation in the West Bank also gives cause for concern, as the numerous checkpoints and the route of the security fence are severely hindering efforts to maintain a viable economy, especially with regard to agriculture.
Finally, I would like to express our gratitude to the delegations that requested to be put on the list of sponsors of draft resolution A/63/L.50. The European Union and the other sponsors hope that the draft resolution will be adopted by consensus.
We would also like to thank the Palestinian and Israeli delegations for their cooperation during these negotiations.
The Acting President : We shall now proceed to consider draft resolutions A/63/L.45, A/63/L.47, A/63/L.48, A/63/L.49, A/63/L.50 and A/63/L.53.
The Acting President : Draft resolution A/63/L.50 is entitled “Assistance to the Palestinian people”. Since the submission of the draft resolution, the following countries have become sponsors: Belarus, Iceland, Namibia and the United States of America.
May I take it that it is the wish of the Assembly to adopt the draft resolution?
Draft resolution A/63/L.50 was adopted (resolution 63/140).
Ms. Halabi (Syrian Arab Republic) (spoke in Arabic ): ...
Despite the positive issues dealt with in the draft resolution, a vital question for people throughout the world affected by such difficult challenges is how to allow access for humanitarian assistance. There was not full agreement on the issue because of the rejection by some Western countries of the request by a large number of Arab States that people suffering foreign occupation be given access to humanitarian assistance. The objective behind the request was to address the humanitarian crisis caused by the inhuman Israeli blockade of the Palestinian people and Israel’s collective punishment policy against the unarmed Palestinian people.
Our delegation simply requested respect for the purposes and principles of the Charter, by asking the Organization to assume its responsibilities and put an end to Israel’s inhuman and immoral activities, which are a grave violation of the principles of international law. Prohibiting access for humanitarian assistance to the occupied Palestinian territories confirms our concern, which we have repeated on many occasions, about the double standards being applied by some delegations, which have repeatedly politicized all humanitarian issues and introduced considerations that have nothing to do with access to humanitarian assistance in the occupied Palestinian territories.
The Acting President: I call on the observer for Palestine.
Mr. Hijazi (Palestine): My delegation wishes to make a brief general statement in connection with the adoption of draft resolution A/63/L.50, under sub-item (c).
We would like to take this opportunity to extend our appreciation to the delegation of France, which currently holds the presidency of the European Union, for its efforts to reach a consensus on the draft resolution.
Through the adoption of draft resolution A/63/L.50, the international community reaffirms its commitment to the Palestinian people and the ultimate realization of their inalienable rights. Over the past six decades that assistance has been key for the resilience of the Palestinian people and for ensuring that they, the majority of whom are dispossessed refugees, are not forgotten or forsaken, despite the many years of conflict, turmoil and suffering. That assistance has time and again served as a reaffirmation of the right of the Palestinian people to live a life of dignity and to build their vital institutions to enable them to survive and withstand the imposed misery of military occupation, and to prepare for a tomorrow free from its shackles.
That assistance is a clear political message to stand by international legitimacy and principles of international law, a commitment for which the Palestinian people will always extend their gratitude and thanks to the international community.
The meeting rose at 5.10 p.m.
This record contains the text of speeches delivered in English and of the interpretation of speeches delivered in the other languages. Corrections should be submitted to the original languages only. They should be incorporated in a copy of the record and sent under the signature of a member of the delegation concerned to the Chief of the Verbatim Reporting Service, room C-154A. Corrections will be issued after the end of the session in a consolidated corrigendum.