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About the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People
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UNITED
NATIONS
A

        General Assembly
Distr.
LIMITED
A/AC.183/SR.161
1 February 1989

ORIGINAL: ENGLISH

COMMITTEE ON THE EXERCISE OF THE INALIENABLE RIGHTS
OF THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE
SUMMARY RECORD OF THE 161st MEETING
Held at Headquarters, New York,
on Thursday, 26 January 1989, at 10.30 a.m.

Temporary Chairman: Mr. PEREZ DE CUELLAR (Secretary-General of
the United Nations

Chairman: Mrs. DIALLO (Senegal)


CONTENTS


Adoption of the agenda

Election of officers

Organization of work

Report on the Twenty-first United Nations Seminar on the Question of Palestine and the Second African NGO Symposium, held at Cairo from 18 to 22 December 1988

Other matters




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 DC2-750, 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 10.50 a.m.


ADOPTION OF THE AGENDA (A/AC.183/1989/L.1)

1. The agenda was adopted.

ELECTION OF OFFICERS

2. Mr. PEJIC (Yugoslavia) said that the current meeting was overshadowed by the serious deterioration of the situation in the occupied Palestinian territory. In its attempt to suppress the uprising (intifadah) of the Palestinian people, Israel continued to apply ever more brutal measures which had caused untold suffering and taken a heavy toll of human lives.

3. The forty-third session of the General Assembly had once again stressed the need for a just and comprehensive solution to the question of Palestine through the convening of the International Peace Conference on the Middle East. The role of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People in promoting such a solution was of the greatest importance at such a delicate juncture. The Assembly had again demonstrated its appreciation for the work of the Committee through the adoption of important resolutions on the question of Palestine, particularly the resolution on the Conference (43/176).

4. Such a reaffirmation of the importance of the Committee had been due to the excellent guidance and dedication of its Chairman, Mrs. Diallo. The support of her country, Senegal, with which his country maintained close and friendly co-operation, had been of great encouragement to the Committee. His delegation therefore proposed that Mrs. Diallo should be re-elected for another term. It also proposed that Mr. Oramas Oliva (Cuba) and Mr. Dost (Afghanistan) should be re-elected Vice-Chairmen, and that Mr. Borg Olivier (Malta) should be re-elected Rapporteur.

5. Mr. GHEZAL (Tunisia) supported the statement made by the representative of Yugoslavia concerning the composition of the Bureau, and said that the question of Palestine had reached a critical stage in the previous year with the unleashing of the heroic uprising of the Palestinian people in its national territory against the Israeli occupation forces. It was highly appropriate that the Committee, which had worked so hard for the realization of all of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, including its right to establish its independent State in its own land, should now redouble its efforts to achieve a just and lasting settlement of the Palestinian question, and that it should be able to rely on the continuity and dedication of its leadership.

6. The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN said that, if he heard no objection, he would take it that the Committee wished to re-elect the officers named by the representative of Yugoslavia.

7. It was so decided.

8. Mrs. Diallo (Senegal) took the Chair.

9. The SECRETARY-GENERAL congratulated the Chairman and the other members of the Bureau on their re-election.

10. The Committee was resuming its work in 1989 with a renewed mandate and in a context marked by the very important events that had taken place in the past year. The uprising in the occupied Palestinian territories, the intifadah, which had begun in 1987, remained a grave subject of concern for the international community. He was particularly disturbed by the toughening of the measures taken in recent weeks and the high number of deaths caused by bullets. The innocent civilians killed, mutilated or wounded, whose number included women and children, made it incumbent on the international community to find a way of bringing the parties to the negotiating table in order to arrive, once and for all, at a global, just and lasting settlement of the problem. For the Israelis and the Palestinians were not the only ones concerned: the intifadah was an integral part of the Israeli-Arab conflict, which encompassed a number of closely interlinked questions.

11. A number of other very important events should be recalled: the nineteenth extraordinary session of the Palestine National Council, held in November at Algiers, the consideration of the question of Palestine by the General Assembly at Geneva and the important statement made on that occasion on behalf of the Palestinian people by Mr. Yasser Arafat, Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), as well as the decision of the United States Government to enter into a dialogue with the PLO. Those new developments had relaunched the diplomatic process aimed at a peaceful settlement of the Israeli-Arab conflict and, in particular, of the question of Palestine. He was convinced that today, as a result, new possibilities were opening up for progress towards peace.

12. The General Assembly, in resolution 43/176, had called for the convening of the International Peace Conference on the Middle East, under the auspices of the United Nations, with the participation of all parties to the conflict, including the Palestine Liberation Organization, on an equal footing, and the five permanent members of the Security Council, based on Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973) and the legitimate national rights of the Palestinian people, primarily the right to self-determination. The General Assembly, had requested the Security Council to consider measures needed to convene the International Peace Conference, including the establishment of a preparatory committee. It had also requested him to continue his efforts with the parties concerned and, in consultation with the Security Council, to facilitate the convening of the Conference.

13. He intended to continue consideration of that question with the Security
Council, and he did not doubt that, with the full support of the great Powers, it would be possible to progress towards a just and lasting peace in the Middle East. Some tangible results had been achieved during the previous year with a view to the settlement of a number of regional conflicts. The duration and the explosive character of the Israeli-Arab conflict rendered all the more urgent the need to intensify efforts in that region from now on.

(The Secretary-General)

14. The General Assembly had once again endorsed the recommendations drafted by the Committee and had requested it to continue to promote their implementation. The General Assembly had also requested it to continue to keep under review the situation relating to the question of Palestine and the implementation of the Programme of Action for the Achievement of Palestinian Rights, adopted by the International Conference on the question of Palestine in 1983.

15. There was general agreement that it was, to a large extent, thanks to the
untiring efforts of the Committee that the rights of the Palestinian people were now better understood and supported. He was pleased to note that the programme of regional seminars, information activities and meetings of non-governmental organizations undertaken by the Committee had contributed so effectively to ensuring an increased knowledge of the question at the international level.

16. The General Assembly's mandate to the Committee gave it, once again, a very full programme of work. He assured the Committee that it could always count on his personal support and that of the Secretariat in the discharge of its important mission.

17. The CHAIRMAN said that she viewed her re-election as a tribute to her country, which whole-heartedly supported the purposes and principles of the Charter and the promotion of international relations based on justice and peace. Senegal was committed to the restoration of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, in particular its right to self-determination, to the creation of an independent State on its native soil and to the restitution of its confiscated properties. In the same spirit, her country would continue its efforts unremittingly within the Committee.

18. She thanked the Secretary-General for the special interest which he attached to the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people and for personally opening the Committee's first meeting of 1989.

19. The year 1988 had been marked by significant events in the history of the
Palestinian people. The declaration by the Palestine National Council of an
independent Palestinian State had met with widespread sympathy and support, which had increased after the courageous and lucid statements of Chairman Yasser Arafat at the forty-third session of the General Assembly held at Geneva. Chairman Arafat's peace initiative, which had made possible the opening of a dialogue between the United States and the Palestinians, was an irrefutable proof of the willingness of the Palestinian people and its leadership to take a realistic approach. The new dynamic created by the unequivocal acceptance of a comprehensive and durable settlement on the basis of Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973) must now be sustained by all the parties concerned.

20. For its part, the Committee had closely followed the situation in the occupied Palestinian territory and had organized activities with a view to mobilizing international public opinion in support of the decisions and recommendations of the United Nations on the question of Palestine. On the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, Governments as well as intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations had stressed that the convening of the International Peace Conference on the Middle East under the auspices of the United Nations should be accorded an absolute priority. Encouraged by the overwhelming consensus in favour of the Conference, the Committee had decided to make it the central element of its programme of work for 1989.

21. In view of the desire to begin a negotiating process which had been demonstrated at various levels, she called upon all of the parties concerned to rise above their narrow interests and to begin an objective re-evaluation of the situation, in accordance with the principles of the Charter and in the interest of all States and peoples in the region.

22. Mr. AL-KIDWA (Observer for Palestine) thanked the Secretary-General for
opening the first meeting of the Committee for 1989. Such a gesture reflected his deep interest in the work of the Committee and his commitment to the implementation of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people. He congratulated the Chairman and the other members of the Bureau on their re-election.

23. The Palestine Liberation Organization attached great importance to the work of the Committee and to the special role which it had played in achieving important objectives at the level of the United Nations, particularly the recent adoption by the General Assembly of its resolutions 43/176 and 43/177. Special mention should be made of the Committee's role in following up events in the occupied territory of Palestine and in bringing about the adoption of the necessary and appropriate political position within the framework of the Organization.

24. The situation in the occupied territory of Palestine continued to deteriorate and had assumed alarming proportions. While stepping up their routine oppression directed against the Palestinian people, the occupation authorities had unleashed new and unprecedented measures which had resulted in hundreds of deaths, including those of children, thousands of injuries and scores of deportations. Such practices were contrary to international law and the provisions of the fourth Geneva Convention as well as General Assembly and Security Council resolutions. The situation called for special attention from the international community and the Committee in order to bring it to an end.

25. The Palestinian political position embraced peace, seeking a just, permanent and comprehensive solution. It was characterized by historical achievements such as the proclamation of the State of Palestine by the Palestine National Council and the peace initiative launched by Chairman Yasser Arafat. Positive developments had occurred at the international level, including the opening of a dialogue between the United States Government and the PLO. While welcoming that development, the PLO called upon the United States to take a just position and to recognize the rights of the Palestinian people, especially its right to self-determination.

26. Despite those initiatives, the Israeli position remained obstinate. It was necessary to step up efforts, to support the march towards peace, and to work towards the convening of the International Peace Conference. In that respect, it was necessary to emphasize the role of the Security Council and of the Secretary-General. The PLO stood ready to co-operate fully with him and to take all necessary steps in that direction.

27. The Secretary-General withdrew.

ORGANIZATION OF WORK (A/AC.183/1989/CRP.1)

28. Mr. BORG OLIVIER (Malta), Rapporteur, said that the draft programme of work for 1989 (A/AC.183/1989/CRP.1) was a preliminary paper containing suggestions based on the past practice and decisions of the Committee, and the important resolutions adopted at the forty-third session of the General Assembly. The adoption by the General Assembly of the resolutions on the question of Palestine by an even greater majority than at previous sessions showed the determination of the international community to reach a negotiated settlement of the question and constituted a strong encouragement for the Committee to further intensify its efforts to achieve that objective. The proposed programme of work for 1989 therefore once again accorded priority to promoting the urgent convening of an International Peace Conference on the Middle East. In previous years, the work programme had been considered first by the Working Group of the Committee. Accordingly, he suggested that the Working Group should be re-established in order to consider the draft paper and make appropriate recommendations to the Committee.

29. Mr. INSANALLY (Guyana) said that the draft programme of work for 1989 made eminently good sense. Nevertheless, his delegation felt that, since the situation with regard to Palestine had qualitatively changed, the Committee should adapt its overall approach to take account of that change. Although there was wisdom in following past practice, paragraph 4 of General Assembly resolution 43/175 A authorized the Committee to make such adjustments in its approved programme of seminars and symposia and meetings of non-governmental organizations as it might consider necessary. In that connection, he stressed the need to assess activities from the point of view of cost effectiveness and relevance to current problems. It was necessary to define the role of the Committee in preparing for and holding the International Peace Conference. In addition to considering suggestions made by States, the Committee should also take into account the recommendations and views put forward at the various seminars and symposia held.

30. A new format could be developed in order to elicit fresh thinking with regard to procedures to be followed by the Committee in carrying out its mandate. Those procedures should be clearly defined in view of the limited resources available and the current important stage in the question of Palestine. The criteria for selecting venues for seminars and symposia could also be reviewed in order to make such exercises more effective. The seminar in North America, for example, could be held in Washington, D.C., in order to reach a larger audience and perhaps encompass a dialogue with the United States Administration and Congress. The Working Group could also consider the possibility of holding the European symposium in Brussels in order to foster contacts with the European Economic Community and the European Parliament. Referring to the studies and publications of the Division for Palestinian Rights, his delegation felt that consideration should also be given to devising new formats and styles in order to reach a wider audience. In short, the Working Group and the Committee should take note of the new circumstances, and develop new criteria to guide their work in 1989.

31. Mr. BORG OLIVIER (Malta), Rapporteur, said that the draft programme of work for 1989 (A/AC.183/1989/CRP.1) was a preliminary paper which the Working Group would consider in depth. The Working Group was an open-ended body and the representative of Guyana could participate in its work and in doing so put forward his very useful ideas and suggestions. The Working Group would take account of the qualitatively new situation with regard to Palestine in order to pursue more effectively its objectives.

32. Mr. DAMODARAN (India) said that part II of the draft programme of work for 1989 did not provide much information on the results of the Committee's work in 1988. Paragraph 7 of that document did not contain any reference to what the Committee had done to protect the rights of Palestinians under Israeli occupation. Paragraph 11 referred to suggestions made by some States regarding the Committee's work. Specific information should be provided on those suggestions and the extent to which they had been taken into account in planning future work. Paragraph 20 stated that the Government of Austria had been approached concerning the possibility of using the Austrian Conference Centre in Vienna for a number of meetings. The Committee should also consider the possibility of using the Vienna International Centre for that purpose.

33. The CHAIRMAN said that, if she heard no objection, she would take it that the Committee wished to re-establish the Working Group and to elect Mr. Borg Olivier (Malta) as Chairman and Mr. Rath (India) as Vice-Chairman.

34. It was so decided.

REPORT ON THE TWENTY-FIRST UNITED NATIONS SEMINAR ON THE QUESTION OF PALESTINE AND THE SECOND AFRICAN NGO SYMPOSIUM, HELD AT CAIRO FROM 18 TO 22 DECEMBER 1988

35. The CHAIRMAN said that the Seminar and the Symposium had been very successful events. The papers presented by the experts, the lively discussions on the various subjects, and the conclusions and recommendations adopted confirmed that assessment. She expressed, on behalf of the Committee, her sincere appreciation to the Government and people of the Arab Republic of Egypt for their consistent support for the exercise by the Palestinian people of its inalienable rights.

36. The Cairo Seminar and NGO Symposium marked the first time that the Committee had held an integrated event for the governmental, intergovernmental and non-governmental community in Africa. Their success had showed how action by Governments and grassroots organizations could be harmonized in pursuit of a common objective. The Seminar and Symposium had held six joint meetings for panel presentations and discussions, and 21 panelists had presented papers on selected aspects of the question of Palestine. The conclusions and recommendations adopted by the Seminar and the declaration of the NGO Symposium took into account the current crucial stage in the struggle of the Palestinian people to regain its inalienable rights and provided a sound basis for action at the governmental, intergovernmental and non-governmental levels.

37. The participants had unanimously welcomed the launching of the Palestinian peace initiative and the proclamation of an independent Palestinian State at the nineteenth extraordinary session of the Palestine National Council at Algiers as important landmarks in the efforts of the international community to achieve a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement of the question of Palestine. The Seminar and Symposium had also welcomed the resolutions on the question of Palestine adopted at the forty-third session of the General Assembly on 15 December 1988 in Geneva. The participants considered that it was incumbent on Israel to accept the terms for a lasting and comprehensive settlement on the basis of Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973). The Seminar had appealed to the United Nations to take urgent measures to protect the Palestinians under occupation, guarantee the safety and the legal and human rights of the Palestinian refugees in all territories under Israeli occupation and alleviate their suffering.

38. The participants had affirmed that the denial of the exercise of the legitimate national rights of the Palestinian people remained the core of the conflict in the Middle East and that a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the region could not be achieved without the full exercise of those rights and the withdrawal of Israel from the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967. They had further affirmed that the Palestine Liberation Organization was the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people and, as such, was an essential party to any negotiations aimed at resolving the conflict by peaceful means.

39. The Seminar had noted with appreciation the support extended by the Organization of African Unity and the Governments and peoples of Africa to the Palestinian cause and their efforts to achieve a just and lasting peace in the Middle East. Many of the participants had drawn parallels between the cause of the Palestinian people and the struggle of the peoples of South Africa and Namibia. Both the policies of Israel and the apartheid policies of South Africa endangered international peace and security.

40. She suggested that, as in the past, the conclusions and recommendations of the Seminar, together with a short factual introduction, as well as the declaration of the NGO Symposium should be annexed to the annual report of the Committee to the General Assembly and that the full reports of both the Seminar and the Symposium should be published as special bulletins of the Division for Palestinian Rights and given the widest possible distribution.

41. It was so decided.

OTHER MATTERS

42. Mr. AYUB (Pakistan) said that his Government had recently decided to raise the status of the Palestine Liberation Organization representative's office in Pakistan to that of the Embassy of the State of Palestine. The PLO representative would henceforth be the Ambassador of Palestine.

43. Mr. AL-KIDWA (Observer for Palestine) expressed gratitude to the Government and people of Pakistan and the large number of other States that had recognized the State of Palestine. That reflected the will of the international community to ensure the implementation of the rights of the Palestinian people, particularly the right to national independence in the State of Palestine.

44. Mr. DOST (Afghanistan) said that, since 1987, a new chapter of history had opened, marked by the intifadah, the proclamation of the independent State of Palestine and the resolutions adopted by the General Assembly at its Geneva session in 1988. The Committee had registered important achievements in its work, but much still remained to be done.

45. Mr. ORAMAS OLIVA (Cuba) expressed his country's continuing support for the struggle of the Palestinian people for the attainment of its inalienable national rights.


The meeting rose at 12.25 p.m.




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