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About the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People
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        General Assembly
27 February 1986




Held at Headquarters, New York,
on Friday, 21 February 1986, at 10.30 a.m.

Chairman: Mr. SARRE (Senegal)


Adoption of the agenda

Report of the Working Group

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 11.15 a.m.


1. The agenda was adopted.


2. Mr. AGIUS (Malta), Rapporteur, said that the Working Group had taken into
account both the need to establish a fully effective programme of work and the
appeals launched by the Secretary-General, who had requested the various United Nations bodies to exercise financial restraint.

3. With regard to the European seminar, which was to be held at Istanbul from 7 to 11 April, the Working Group was submitting a list of 17 panelists (Working Paper No. 1/Rev.1, distributed at the meeting). It recommended that 11 panelists should be chosen from Western Europe and Eastern Europe; to these would be added four others nominated by Turkey, whose travel costs would therefore be negligible. Those individuals would speak either on the International Peace Conference or on European public opinion. Statements on the role of the Palestine Liberation Organization and on that of the United Nations would be made, respectively, by a panelist designated by the PLO and by a member of the delegation of the Committee.

4. The Working Group recommended that half a day should be devoted to those two topics, the rest of the time being devoted to the other two topics. In order to ensure that the report of the seminar was not too long, the panelists could be asked to supply abridged versions of their papers or to issue a single joint paper on each of the topics discussed.

5. In view of the importance of the seminar, the Committee's delegation should comprise four members, plus a representative of the PLO.

6. As in the past, the Committee should appoint its delegation for the preparatory meetings organized by the non-governmental organizations to be held on 24 and 25 February 1986 in New York and on 6 and 7 March at Geneva, respectively, for the North American seminar and the international meeting.

7. In the light of the financial difficulties of the United Nations, the Working Group recommended that the African seminar, scheduled for the summer of 1986, should be held at the United Nations premises at Nairobi, subject to approval by the Government of Kenya. Great savings could also be effected if that meeting was held immediately after the international NGO meeting - which could be advanced - and prior to that of the non-aligned countries to be held in Zimbabwe. The Working Group therefore recommended that the seminar should be held from 18 to 22 August.

8. The CHAIRMAN said that the Bureau of the Committee had agreed on a number of measures to follow up the instructions of the Secretary-General concerning expenditures. It had recommended that, in order to reduce the cost of travel and meetings, the Committee's activities should be programmed in a more rational manner by preparing them well in advance, using the possibilities offered by the regional offices of the United Nations and reducing the numerical size of delegations. It had also proposed doing away with the full-scale reproduction of documents submitted at such meetings and limiting to 32 pages the Committee's report to the General Assembly.

9. Mr. TERZI (Observer, Palestine Liberation Organization) said that, with
respect to savings, it might be worth while to ask whether up to the present the Committee's expenditures had been excessive and whether its activities had been too broad in scope. The convening of an international peace conference was not a commodity that could be obtained at a discount. If one became preoccupied with costs, one might forget substance. The Committee had up to the present accomplished excellent work, rationally organized and "profitable", with slim resources. By way of comparison, UNIFIL, which had to be kept in Lebanon because of the Israeli invasion, each month cost the United Nations, for a single aspect of the issue, four times the annual budget of the Committee.

10. There should absolutely not be any reduction in the number of members on the Committee's delegations to seminars and symposia, which were one of the most effective ways of reaching local populations. The Committee had already done the maximum to reduce costs. Practical adjustments might be made but there must be no skimping on representation. Nor could one mutilate the Committee's reports, which were based on political and human realities, as if it were a matter of mere rhetoric. Finally, he noted that none of the panelists recommended on the Working Group's list was from Mediterranean Europe or Ireland. Yet in those countries there was public opinion which should be heard.

11. The Committee must not allow itself to be circumvented: the future of
5 million people and peace in the Middle East were at stake; all that it spent was an investment for peace and for the resolution of a burning issue arising out of the violation, in 1947, of the United Nations Charter by the Organization itself.

12. The CHAIRMAN said that the Committee was fully aware of its responsibilities and the importance of the question of Palestine. But neither should it forget the financial difficulties facing the Organization. Of course, it had already attempted to moderate its expenditures even before it had been requested to do so. Today, however, it must also contribute to the collective effort, without, of course, going too far.

13. He suggested that, if there was no objection, the Committee should approve the report of the Working Group.

14. It was so decided.

15. The CHAIRMAN drew attention to Working Paper No. 1/Rev.1, distributed at the meeting, which contained the list of panelists who might be invited to the Istanbul seminar.

16. Mr. YOGASUNDRAM (Chief, Division for Palestinian Rights) said, in reply to a question from the observer for the Palestine Liberation Organization, that the invitations had not yet been sent out because the Division was awaiting the decision which the Committee would take at the current meeting.

17. Mr. TERZI (Observer, Palestine Liberation Organization), noting that Mr. Minty would not be able to attend the seminar, asked the Committee to bear in mind, however, for future activities, the name of that person, who understood very well the situation in southern Africa and its relationship to the situation in Palestine. To replace Mr. Minty, he proposed inviting Mr. Hans-Peter Kotthaus, Under-Secretary-General of the Parliamentary Association for Euro-Arab Co-operation, who could provide very useful information on the state of Western opinion. As Mr. Kotthaus lived in Europe, his participation would not involve excessive costs.

18. The CHAIRMAN suggested that, if there was no objection, the Committee should approve the list of panelists asked to participate in the Istanbul seminar as it appeared in Working Paper No. 1/Rev.1, taking into account the PLO proposal.

19. It was so decided.

20. The CHAIRMAN announced that Mr. Tarasyuk (Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic) had volunteered to present the paper on "The United Nations and the question of Palestine" mentioned in paragraph 5 of the working paper, and that Miss Kunadi (India) had volunteered to participate in the preparatory NGO meeting to be held at Geneva. He suggested that the Committee should approve those two proposals.

21. It was so decided.

The meeting rose at noon

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