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        General Assembly
1 December 2003

Original: English

Fifty-eighth session
Official Records

Third Committee

Summary record of the 43rd meeting
Held at Headquarters, New York, on Thursday, 13 November 2003, at 10 a.m.

Chairman: Mr. Belinga-Eboutou ................................................ (Cameroon)
later: Mr. Maertens (Vice-Chairman) ......................................... (Belgium)
later: Mr. Belinga-Eboutou ........................................................ (Cameroon)



Agenda item 116: Right of peoples to self-determination (continued)


The meeting was called to order at 10.15 a.m.


Agenda item 116: Right of peoples to self-determination (continued)


Draft resolution A/C.3/58/L.35: The right of the Palestinian people to self-determination

63. The Chairman said that draft resolution A/C.3/58/L.35 contained no programme budget implications. The following countries had become sponsors of the draft resolution: Afghanistan, Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Bulgaria, Cape Verde, Chile, Comoros, Croatia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Ecuador, Eritrea, Estonia, Gambia, Germany, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Hungary, Iceland, Japan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lesotho, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Monaco, Mozambique, Namibia, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, San Marino, Sierra Leone, Slovakia, Slovenia, Somalia, Switzerland, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Ukraine and Zimbabwe.

64. Mr. Cavallari (Italy), speaking in explanation of vote before the voting on behalf of the European Union, the acceding countries Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia, the associated countries Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey, and, in addition, Iceland and Norway, said that, as in previous years, the European Union would vote in favour of the draft resolution. It wished to reiterate its firm commitment to enabling the Palestinian people to fulfil their unconditional right to self-determination, including the possibility of establishing a sovereign State. Thus, it was encouraged that the international community, including the Middle East Quartet, had affirmed the objective of two States, Israel and Palestine, living side by side within secure and recognized borders, and it was actively engaged in the efforts of the Quartet to seek a definitive settlement in accordance with the resolutions of the Security Council and the road map. Likewise, the European Union strongly supported the Palestinians in their efforts to hold elections as early as possible in 2004.

65. At the request of the representative of the United States, a recorded vote was taken on draft resolution A/C.3/58/L.35.

In favour:

Afghanistan, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Cape Verde, Chile, China, Colombia, Comoros, Congo, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, France, Gambia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nauru, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia and Montenegro, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Somalia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Syrian Arab Republic, Thailand, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Timor-Leste, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.


Israel, United States of America.



66. Draft resolution A/C.3/58/L.35 was adopted by 159 to 2, with 0 abstentions .

67. Mr. Luria (Israel) said that Israel recognized the right of peoples to self-determination throughout the world, including the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination. Israel did not want to dominate Palestinians or control their destiny. It was committed to the vision of peace in the Middle East and to the implementation of the road map based on a two-State solution. Nevertheless, the right to self-determination was not a blank cheque legitimizing any action; it had to be exercised with respect for the right of others to self-determination.

68. The draft resolution prejudged the outcome of permanent status negotiations and undermined the ability to conclude them. The goal of self-determination was hindered by such one-sided resolutions that traditionally ignored the context of the conflict and Israel’s right to live in the region under its own sovereignty, free from terrorism.

69. Mr. Laurin (Canada) said that Canada fully supported the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination and the creation of a Palestinian state, but it believed that the interests of the Palestinians and the peoples of the region as a whole would be best served if that right was exercised through the negotiation process. Canada had voted in favour of the draft resolution because it endorsed the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination and emphasized the importance of the negotiation process. Canada also supported the draft resolution’s affirmation of the right of all States in the region to live in peace. Lastly, Canada wished to emphasize the need for the immediate resumption of negotiations between the parties under the road map.

70. Mr. Choi (Australia) said that Australia had voted in favour of the draft resolution because it had consistently supported the Palestinian right to self-determination and the realization of two States, Israel and Palestine, living side by side within secure and recognized borders, as set out in Security Council resolution 1397 (2002). His delegation would however have preferred that the draft resolution mention the road map to Middle East peace endorsed by the international community. The Palestinian Authority must take firm action to end the violence in order to realize statehood.

71. Ms. Rasheed (Observer for Palestine) said that her delegation wished to express its appreciation for the positive result of the vote. The right of the Palestinian people to self-determination remained a central issue for resolving the conflict in the Middle East, and the reaffirmation of that right by the international community provided hope to the Palestinian people.

72. Nevertheless, it was necessary to refer to the negative vote cast by Israel, which served as additional proof that the Israeli Government rejected a real peace settlement based on the existence of two States. Any settlement had to begin with mutual respect and recognition, because the right to self-determination was not an outcome of negotiations, but a prerequisite.

73. Her delegation was also surprised that the United States delegation, which had repeatedly affirmed its vision for the region, in which two States, Israel and Palestine, lived side by side, could vote against a draft resolution that supported the right of the Palestinian people to exercise their inalienable right to self-determination. Such a contradiction was not only confusing but also deeply disappointing and brought into question the ability of the United States to play the role of an honest broker in resolving the situation. A vote against a people’s right to self-determination went against the ideals and history of the United States itself, for it was President Woodrow Wilson who had fathered the concept of the right to self-determination.

74. Achieving peace in the Middle East required a solution that recognized and guaranteed the basic rights of both peoples. Her delegation hoped that it would not be necessary to propose a similar draft resolution in 2004; however, if one was required it trusted that the Committee would adopt it unanimously.

75. Mr. Roshdy (Egypt) said that, as the main sponsor of the draft resolution, he wished to thank all those who had voted in favour and noted that it was the first time that there had been no abstentions. He hoped that it would be the last time such a resolution was presented; however, he was not optimistic because there still appeared to be those who did not believe in the right to self-determination or that all human rights were applicable to all people.

76. Palestine would be free whether Israel wanted it to be or not. Instead of lecturing the Committee on the road map, he called on the representative of Israel to give a clear statement on how the Israeli Government proposed to proceed with the map. The Israeli representative had said that the resolution was prejudging the outcome of negotiations; where were the negotiations and where was the peace process? What could be objected to in a draft resolution that spoke of the right of everyone to live in peace? There appeared to be a double standard when talking of human rights, because there were those who talked about them but did nothing to put them into practice.

77. Ms. Noman (Yemen) said that her delegation appreciated the efforts of the Commission on Human Rights to investigate the human rights situation in different parts of the world. However, there appeared to be no transparency when dealing with human rights questions; States were chosen selectively and human rights issues were used to exert political pressure in order to achieve economic and other interests. Meanwhile, gross violations of human rights were ignored, particularly in the occupied Palestinian territory, with the assassination of children and women and the destruction of property. Therefore, Yemen would not participate in voting on any draft resolution dealing with human rights in specific States.


The meeting rose at 1.10 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.

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