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        General Assembly
12 September 1989

Original: English/

Report of the
Secretary-General on the work
of the Organization

General Assembly
Official Records · Forty-fourth Session
Supplement No.1 (A/44/1)


The situation in the Middle East remains a source of profound and intense concern, not only because of the political principles and issues at stake, but also because of the widespread human suffering caused by the failure to resolve those issues. Hopes for early progress in the peace process, which were encouraged by the diplomatic momentum following the decisions taken by the Palestinian National Council at Algiers in November 1988, and at Geneva a month later, have sadly given way to mistrust and doubt among the parties concerned. Bilateral efforts to promote a dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians have thus far been unsuccessful. My constant attempts to pave the way to an effective negotiating process, which have included repeated contacts at the highest level with the parties directly concerned and with the permanent members of the Security Council, have also until now proved frustratingly inconclusive. Moreover, I am troubled by recent declarations that, in effect, questions the applicability of Security Council resolution 242 (1967). Since its unanimous adoption, the resolution has been regarded as the corner-stone of any comprehensive settlement to be reached. Unless there is agreement on that point, it is unlikely that real progress will be achieved.

Meanwhile, the situation in the Israeli-occupied territories grows steadily worse, with hundreds of people killed and thousands wounded or detained since the beginning of the intifadah nearly two years ago. The Security Council has repeatedly called on Israel to abide by its obligations under the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War and I have voiced my deep concern that, despite the appeals of the international community, widespread violation of human rights persists. However, it is the political aspects of the problem that have to be addressed if an end is to be put to the confrontations that occur almost daily throughout the occupied territories. I would, therefore, remind all concerned of the urgent need for an effective negotiating process based on Security Council resolution 242 (1967) and 338 (1973) and taking fully into account the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people, including that of self-determination. The longer such a process is delayed, the greater will be the difficulties in initiating it and the more explosive the situation can become.

The world is appalled by the steady disintegration of the institutions of government and society in Lebanon and by the resort to unprecedented violence by all the parties involved in the Lebanese conflict. On 15 August 1989, after an alarming escalation in the military confrontation in and around Beirut, and with the danger of even further involvement of outside parties, I requested the President of the Security Council to convene an urgent meeting of the Council in view of the serious threat to international peace and security. The Council met the same day and expressed its deep concern at the further deterioration of the situation and appealed to all the parties to observe a total and immediate cease-fire. The Council also expressed its full support for the efforts of the Tripartite Committee of the Arab Heads of State and appealed to all to support those efforts likewise. In accordance with the Council's statement, I am pursuing all appropriate contacts in liaison with the Tripartite Committee to ensure the fulfillment of the Council's intent.

I strongly believe that the international committee bears a responsibility to ensure that the unity, sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of Lebanon are restored. A Member State of the United Nations deserves no less.


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